DNR calls out National Guard to battle Central Washington wildfire

of Joe Smilie, Washington Dept. of Natural ResourcesA Washington National Guard Blackhawk helicopter waits out heavy winds Aug. 14 at the Cougar Creek fire camp outside Glenwood, Wash. With wildland fires raging across the state, the Washington Department of Natural Resources called on the National Guard.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources on Friday called out the National Guard to help battle an 18,000-acre blaze burning in southcentral Washington on the southeastern slopes of Mount Adams.

The Cougar Creek fire was one of many Northwest blazes that were stretching firefighting resources thin, according to the Northwest Coordination Center, which manages interagency firefighting. With the risk of fire high heading into the weekend, especially in Eastern Washington, the center warned that firefighting resources could be exhausted.

Other major Washington fires burning Friday included the 37,792-acre Wolverine fire near Lake Chelan and the 3,500-acre 9 Mile fire 6 miles east of Oroville near the Canadian border. The fire was started by a small plane crash that killed two people, The Associated Press reported.

Besides the Blackhawk helicopters, five 20-person National Guard hand crews were to arrive Sunday evening to join 350 firefighters already on the Cougar Creek fire. This is the first time this summer DNR has requested help from the National Guard, DNR spokeswoman Carrie McCausland said.

The fire was sparked by a lightning strike Aug. 10 about 6 miles northwest of Glenwood. The blaze has grown rapidly, with winds and a heavy load of bug-killed trees fueling its spread, according to DNR.

Also in Washington on Friday, the Paradise fire was burning 2,440 acres inside Olympic National Park. The 7,400-acre Stickpin fire was burning 14 miles northeast of Republic, and the 1,200-acre North Star fire was burning east of Omak.

In Oregon, the County Line 2 fire was burning 36,154 acres near Madras. Officers issued a voluntary evacuation notice for people at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort. Visitors to the Diamond Lake area in southern Oregon were told to prepare to leave if the 2,971-acre National Creek Complex burning 10 miles southwest of the lake spread.

Other large Oregon blazes Friday included the 34,774-acre Bendire Complex 15 miles north of Juntura, the 24,181-acre Stouts Creek fire 16 miles east of Canyonville and the 16,000-acre fire west of Durkee.

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