Go now (we’re serious), Snohomish County tells smoked-out residents near Bolt Creek fire
Residents near the Bolt Creek fire of Snohomish County were told to leave their homes, but just half have left.
“We ask that they reconsider,” a county notice said on Sunday morning. “We need everybody’s help protecting lives today.”
A mandatory evacuation order was issued Saturday for the town of Index in Snohomish County, where the Bolt Creek fire covered 7,600 acres by Sunday morning. The fire has also prompted closure of Highway 2. The Skykomish School District has announced schools will be closed on Monday.
Some of the people forced to evacuate their homes due to wildfire Saturday were taking refuge at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, where the American Red Cross opened a shelter.
Red Cross spokesperson Betsy Robertson said four to five people stayed inside the shelter Saturday night, with seven to eight more receiving services while camped outside.
Robertson said they have capacity for many more.
“We are prepared to host easily up to 100 or more should more people come and seek us out," she said, "and we really hope they do.”
Robertson said this order covers an area where residents are historically more accustomed to flooding that may move more slowly than wildfires.
“Wildfire is a completely different, unpredictable threat to your livelihood, your home, your safety," she said.
She said people can can come to the fairgrounds to get food, a place to sleep, and to charge cell phones. The fairgrounds are also offering shelter for livestock. Robertson said she visited the fire zone on Saturday.
“I got to experience the ash falling from the sky, the smoke in the air and receive the emergency texts that came through on my phone in the peak of the afternoon threat,” she said.
On Saturday, the Bonneville Power Administration shut off three high voltage transmission lines to give firefighters safer access to the area.
According to The Seattle Times, a power administration spokesperson said the shutoff wouldn’t affect customers because the power agency could transmit power through other routes. Robertson said the Red Cross has also opened a shelter for people affected by the Goat Rocks fire near Packwood, Washington. That fire prompted the closure of Highway 12 on Saturday as well.
Evacuation levels have not changed since Saturday night.
Per Snohomish County, these are the levels:
• Level 3 (GO now!): Index
• Level 2 (Set): Between Index and Zeke’s
• Level 1 (Ready): Zeke’s to Gold Bar east city limits
Peter Mongillo with Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue said they estimate 500 structures are at risk in this zone, including homes, barns, and garages.
Snohomish County and the American Red Cross are providing indoor shelter and RV spots at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, located at 14405 179th Ave. SE, Monroe.
The Bolt Creek fire is a roughly 50 minute drive from north Seattle. The smokey air has blanketed Snohomish County; in Seattle the air quality is at 111, which translates to “unhealthy for sensitive people.”
Isolde Raftery contributed.