Evacuation levels along the Bumping River Road corridor northwest of Yakima were moved up to Level 3 (“go now”) on Thursday as the Schneider Springs Fire moved in that direction.
The fire, which was caused by lightning on Aug. 3, is burning about 20 miles northwest of Naches. It was 7,150 acres Thursday morning.
A Thursday afternoon update said the fire could reach the Bumping River watershed near Old Scab Mountain just east of Cougar Flat within 72 hours.
The State Route 410 corridor from Rock Creek to Bumping River Road was under a Level 2 (get set) evacuation notice. Anyone who lives in the area should be prepared to evacuate, officials said.
The fire is expected to grow north toward old Scab Mountain, and east and south toward the 1502 road, according to the update. Most of the growth is heading west into the wilderness in the head of Rattlesnake Canyon, where officials said it will be more difficult to contain due to the terrain and limited access.
Thursday’s smoke prevented aircraft from assisting ground crews, who worked with bulldozers to build contingency lines where they could. A total of 197 workers were assigned to the fire Thursday, with more resources arriving throughout the day.
Phil Daniels, the spokesperson from the incident management team that arrived Monday, said Wednesday night that the north side of the fire is mostly contained by road. A scar from a previous fire is helping stop the fire’s spread to the east, and helicopters worked to push back the fire where it crossed a road to the south.
“The goal is to slow it down to where maybe we get a change in the weather or maybe a change in the fuel,” Daniels said. “Maybe it’ll run into the rocks out there and hopefully we can stop that fire before it rolls over into the Bumping Lake area.”
Yakima Valley Emergency Management workers began going door-to-door Thursday afternoon to notify residents of Level 2 evacuation notices. Officials warned more closures could be added over the next couple of days on both sides of State Route 410, so anyone planning to spend time in the corridor, including the Little Naches area, should be prepared to go elsewhere this weekend.
Forest Service roads 1800, 1700, 1600 and 1500 are closed, as well as the forest area between State Route 410 and U.S. Highway 12. Rimrock Lake remains open to use, and State Route 410 is open.
Yakima Valley Emergency Management and the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office provide updated information on their Facebook pages. They handle evacuation orders.