Level 3 Evacuation Alert issued between Chopaka and Toats Coulee roads

Palmer Mountain Fire over 5,000 acres

Laura Knowlton/staff photos

LOOMIS -The Palmer Fire was first reported in the area of Washburn Lake Road at 2:51 p.m. of Tuesday, Aug. 18 and quickly spread north with extreme fire behavior and was reported spotting one-quarter to one-half miles away, according to Isabelle D. Hoygaard, Public Information Officer for the Palmer Fire, it has grown to more than 5000 acres.

A Level 3 Evacuation Alert for “Immediate Evacuation” for Toates Coulee Road to Chopaka Road from Okanogan County Emergency Management went out at 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening, Aug. 19.

“Persons should be aware of their surroundings and take action NOW. Persons should evacuate away from the fire towards Loomis or Nighthawk. Evacuate NOW,” reads the alert. “Be cautious of emergency vehicles responding. This may be the only notice you receive. Do not wait for door to door notification, take action NOW. If shelter is needed call the Red Cross at 509-670-5331 and they will assist you.”

In a press release from Hoygaard at 6 p.m. Wednesday, she said, “The (Palmer) fire quickly progressed north, then shifting winds in the afternoon transitioned the fire east. The fire is primarily moving north. A rough estimate is the fire burned 5,000 or more acres. District firefighters, DNR, BLM and others responded to the fire and worked in tandem with air resources primarily in structure protection and to slow the progression of the fire.”

Hoygaard added, “Additional crews are arriving to assist in structure protection and fire suppression efforts. Crews have been constructing dozer lines as well as hand lines and are conducting burnout operations where necessary. Crews are primarily focused on multiple flanks of the fire.

Blackhawk helicopters from the Washington Air National Guard are heading to the fire, according to the #wawildfire Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/wawildfire.

“The fire is not contained and will likely continue to grow. Areas in the evacuation levels are being notified by the Okanogan County Sheriff’s department. The public will need to be aware of changing evacuation levels. Don’t wait for notification, if you see active fire behavior in the area, leave the area immediately,” Hoygaard said.

Northwest Incident Management Team 6 (Sheldon) has been ordered to manage the incident, she said.

List of Resources set up for those affected by the fire:

  • Oroville Grange – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday with food, snacks and donated supplies. Contact: Cindy Walitner 253-495-9658 for info or to help.
  • Tonasket Comancheros Rodeo Club – rodeo grounds open for evacuated livestock, must provide care for own animals, feed, and water tubs. Please use South Gate to access. Not clear if humans can stay there with their animals. Call Roger Sawyer 509-429-8036.
  • 923 Ironwood in Oroville for clothes and household items, blankets and sleeping bags, tents. Call Melody – 509-846-4580 – Open Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., but feel free to call outside those hours.
  • CCC in Tonasket – donated items, call directly with needs, to arrange pickup, or find out about delivery to pop-up support sites.
  • Dee Dud’s in Tonasket by the 4th Street Bridge – supplies such as toiletries, water, clothing, donated items left from the Anglin Fire.
  • No PAWS Left Behind, can board dogs and horses, possibly other livestock. They also have dog food available for people in need for food for their pets. 509-476-2991. They also have area available for camping (tents or self-contained).