MALAGA, Wash. — Homeowners in the town of Malaga gathered in the fire station Monday night.
The three-day-old Colockum Tarps wildfire is now more than 31,000 acres in size, and still growing, and only 5% contained.
“It was the largest fire that we’ve seen. The fire was surrounding all the hillsides around us,” homeowner Charlie Anderson said.
The fire started early Saturday morning.
Fueled by dry underbrush and tall, dry trees, the fire spread quickly and became extremely unpredictable every time the wind changed directions.
When the fire is burning in the underbrush it is relatively easy to contain, but when it gets into the trees, into the timber, it can explode with great intensity in just a matter of minutes.
Firefighters from all over Washington have been battling the fire around the clock.
So far three homes and a handful of out buildings have been lost.
“We thought everything was great and then we find out at seven in the morning that the barn burned. It caught fire and it was just really fast, raging, moving,” homeowner Maria Agnew said.
Sixty homes have been evacuated and the fight is on to save them.
Firefighters have a plan in place to improve containment of the fire, if the weather cooperates. Unfortunately, more erratic winds were expected Tuesday. Thunderstorms may come in on Thursday, which could bring much-needed rain, but also more wind and possibly some lightning strikes.