Over 1,000 firefighters are now working on the Blue Creek Fire just 8 miles east of Walla Walla, Washington. The fire is now estimated to be 5,580 acres and has been determined to be human-caused, though the exact circumstances are still under investigation.
Level 3 evacuations are still in effect for parts of the area as the fire threatens dozens of homes, with two commercial buildings and one residential home having been destroyed thus far. Steep terrain has hampered firefighters trying to get a hold of the blaze, which still burns uncontrollably at the north and south ends and sits at just 5% containment since starting on Monday. High winds and extremely dry conditions have led to
The Blue Creek Fire has become a national priority. Beyond threatening homes, the fire has enough potential growth to threaten the Mill Creek watershed, which provides much of Walla Walla’s 30,000 residents with their drinking water. At Wednesday night’s city council meeting, Incident Commander Mike Ciraulo said that the fire was approximately 1 mile from the watershed, where firefighters are working with the city to establish a perimeter around the area. As a contingency plan, city officials are preparing local ground water wells for use in the event the watershed is lost to the fire.
Temperatures are expected to drop in the Walla Walla area next week with a chance of showers, potentially giving some much needed relief to firefighters.