The fire at the Olympic Trading Company started in the early morning and took the building to the ground.
Now marked as the largest fire in Washington State history at over 400,000 acres the Okanogan Complex fire has surpassed the Carlton Complex fire of last year burning a reported 350,000 acres. The smoke from central and eastern Washington fires have reached the coastal cities and over 3,000 volunteers are stepping up to assist with fire fighting and evacuations in Washington State.
Locally with in the past weeks Lewis County has seen fires in Onalaksa and Winlock of which one caused additional damage with an oil spill.
A grass fire in Onalaska sent people running, Sunday, August 9. The smoke rose into the sky as wooded real estate in Onalaska burned. The fire continued across the dry grass and trees, consuming everything in its path.
While the fire burned many acres of land, no injuries were reported nor were there any buildings or structures damaged. Around 20 homes were evacuated with the risk of fire continuing along Gish Road, but by the end of the day, residents were allowed to return to their homes.
By Tuesday the August 11, the fire had destroyed over 100 acres. Although there have been no set reasons for the start of this fire, there are rumors it may have been initiated by the spark of a chainsaw.
During the fire a 5-mile stretch of State Route 12 was shutdown and fire departments were very watchful of a 10,000-gallon propane tank near the vicinity of the fire. Nearly 200 people were needed to fight the blaze.
A warehouse fire in Winlock on August 19, of the Olympic Trading Company, 803 NW Kerron Street, not only took the building but seeped oil into Olequa Creek, a tributary of the Cowlitz River, that caused additional damage to fish and the environment.
The blaze that took down the warehouse has yet been identified as to the cause, which started the fire. During the fire it was identified that oil stored in the facility started leaking into a nearby creek. Absorbent towels and vacuums were deployed in an attempt to pick up the spill, but it had already impacted some of the fish in the streams. It was said that a combination of vegetable shortening, vegetable oil and canola oil, from recent shipments had been expelled during the fire. The undetermined quantity of oil did impact all species of fish, aquatic insects and other organisms for at least a five-mile stretch downstream.
Around the State
With wildfires continuing to burn in central and eastern Washington residents are cautioned to take care when working outside as the slightest spark from equipment may quickly ignite with the current dry conditions.
With the largest fire in Chelan, there have also been reports of smaller fires in Twisp, North Star, Renner and Alder Lake to name a few. National Guard units and volunteer fire departments as well as local citizens have been arriving to assist in the fires for this seasons wildfires that are cropping up in and around the state.