Updated at 5:45 p.m. PST, 7/15/14 to reflect new information from the Department of Natural Resources
By Ann McCreary
Residents of 7 homes on Texas Creek Road near Carlton were ordered to evacuate at about 1:30 p.m. today as the Stokes Road Fire was approaching to within one-quarter mile of the houses.
The homes under evacuation orders are those with addresses from 80 to 350 on Texas Creek Road, which was closed to traffic because of the wildfire.
“It looks like it’s starting to move to the northeast,” said Jacob McCann, public information office with the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
“Fire activity is increasing and there are trees torching,” McCann said at about 2 p.m., soon after the evacuation was ordered.
Firefighters were working to contain the Methow Valley’s first significant wildfire of the season, which was caused by a lightning storm Monday afternoon and was burning in hills south of Carlton.
The Stokes Road Fire had consumed at least 500 acres by Tuesday afternoon, McCann said. The fire was burning primarily on DNR land. Several residents on Texas Creek Road were given Level 2 evacuation orders Monday – advising them to voluntarily relocate until the fire danger passed.
The Stokes Road fire was about 30 percent contained Tuesday morning with fire lines created by hand and bulldozers. A Type 3 Incident Management Team made up of state agency officials was on site to manage the fire. About 80 firefighters were involved in fighting the fire, McCann said.
The blaze was also being fought by planes dropping retardant and by helicopters dropping water. DNR firefighters were also working on fires in the Gold Creek and Buck Mountain areas.
Monday’s lighting storm sparked new fires around the region, including several on U.S. Forest Service lands around the Methow Valley.
“We’ve got a half-dozen fires on the district,” Mike Liu, ranger for the Methow Valley Ranger District, said Tuesday.
“We have initial attack resource on all of them,” Liu said. The fires were all “a couple of acres” in size, he said.
The fires were located in the vicinities of Foggy Dew Creek, Finley Canyon and Piper Canyon, Liu said.
Four rappellers – firefighters delivered by helicopter – were dispatched to the Foggy Dew Creek fire Monday afternoon, according to information from the Forest Service.
“With the resources we have on hand we should be able to keep those fires contained,” Liu said Tuesday.