‘It was wild’: Dog boarding business during rapid evacuation of Nakia Creek Fire
Thousands of Southwest Washington residents received evacuation orders on Sunday, some with rapid escalations and little time to prepare after the Nakia Creek Fire exploded – rising from 150 to 2,000 acres in a single day.
Among them, Lindsay Hansen and her husband, who run the Woof & Tumble dog boarding from their home in Washougal. She described how quickly the situation turned into an emergency on what at first seemed like a normal day.
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“I was actually in the yard playing with the dogs, and I looked up and noticed there was quite a bit of smoke,” she said.
She said a short time later she received text messages from a neighbor alerting her to the fire, and an hour later – an immediate jump to a “Be Set” Level 2 evacuation order for her. region.
Meanwhile, the fire was growing at a rate of hundreds of acres per hour.
“I’m not even sure what even happened with Tier 1,” Hansen said. “We just sort of skipped that to level 2.”
Normally, a second level notice would not necessarily mean that residents have to leave. But Hansen said that due to all the coordination with multiple dogs, contacting multiple owners and arranging transportation for the animals, she had already planned to go as soon as a Level 2 was issued.
The decision was almost prescient, as firefighters later said they were having trouble accurately assessing the size of the blaze due to a heavy amount of smoke obscuring the perimeter.
“Within half an hour of knowing we were at Level 2, we received emergency notifications that we were at Level 3,” she said.
Hansen called a friend, whom she had jokingly reached out to earlier in the day about an old deal to house the dogs in an emergency. They agreed to house the dogs in a garage and backyard, she said.
While her husband ran inside to collect the family’s valuables and vital documents, she groomed the puppies and put them on a mode of transport to her friend’s house, about an hour away. of road.
“I think it would have been complete panic and chaos if there hadn’t been a plan in place,” Hansen said, expressing relief at having prepared for a moment like this after already facing to the Eagle Creek fire.
It was, however, the first time she said her family had to evacuate from a wildfire.
Hansen told KIRO Newsradio that the fire never reached his home and the evacuation orders were shocking because they were issued before any danger was apparent.
“It was wild too, because we were evacuating and there was no smoke in our house,” she said.
On Monday morning, evacuations from her property were lifted and she hesitantly returned home. Hansen said she still fears the situation could escalate again, as quickly as on Sunday.
“I wasn’t too quick to backtrack,” she said. “Because I just wanted to make sure – I don’t want to have to bring these dogs back and then turn around and come back.”
Some of the dogs were picked up by their owners, while others were out of the country, she said. Everyone – two-legged or four-legged – is safe, but Hansen was surprised at how quickly the situation changed.
“You just have to think of all the scenarios you can think of,” she said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the fire was still burning just north, several miles north of Camas, on about 1,800 acres. It is contained at 5% and thousands of people are still under evacuation orders.
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