Lower temperatures, showers and increased humidity have helped firefighters gain ground on the Rose Valley and Cathlamet wildfire Friday.
The Rose Valley fire along Maple Hill Road was 70 percent contained mid-Friday, said Lt. Bryan Ditterick of Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue. Ditterick expected containment to increase later in the day.
All evacuation levels were lifted for the Rose Valley area Friday, after some nearby residents were advised to evacuate Wednesday. Fire officials cleared residents to return home Thursday afternoon but told them to be ready to leave.
The fire earlier was estimated to cover 30 to 40 acres, but a drone flyover determined it is about 24 acres, Ditterick said.
“That’s still big, especially for this time of year,” he said. “It should raise concern and community action to pay attention to burn bans and weather conditions.”
A Larch Mountain inmate hand crew arrived Friday morning to help dig containment lines. Ditterick said 60 to 70 people worked on the fire Friday.
Ditterick said the goal is to get the fire mostly “wrapped up” by the end of the day. The state Department of Natural Resources will monitor the fire for the next few days, he said.
The cause of the Rose Valley fire is under investigation, but firefighters suspect it was spark from an unattended campfire or burn pile, Ditterick said.
The 77-acre Wildwood Fire burning near Cathlamet was 60 percent contained Friday, up from 0 percent Thursday. Cooler, moister weather helped crews build a line around the blaze, DNR Spokesman Nick Cronquist said.
About 85 people worked on the fire Friday, Cronquist said. Crews are aiming to wrap up the fire fight by Sunday, he said.
No injuries or damage to buildings has been reported at either the Rose Valley or Cathlamet-area fires.
Cowlitz County Fire Marshal Mike Wilson Saturday lifted the emergency burn ban enacted Wednesday. However, Wilson said residents planning to burn should be careful and pay attention to weather conditions. Fire officials have also advised anyone conducting burning to make sure fires are out completely before leaving them.