Soap Lake fire forces evacuations

SOAP LAKE, Wash. - For more than 24 hours, firefighters have been working on a major wildfire in Soap Lake. That fire is now 50 percent contained, and has burned around 2,000 acres.

Through the night, several homeowners were told they needed to evacuated their homes, as fire was quickly approaching.

When Randy Sjoden got home Monday, he was greeted by a welcoming committee of fire trucks. A quick moving fire was approaching his Soap Lake home.

“We got home and it was coming up over the top and didn't really think anything of it,” said Sjoden. “Then, all of a sudden, the wind came and the top was burning and it was coming, and it came.”

Crews battled the flames throughout the night, telling residents to leave their homes as the wind whipped those flames.

“Oftentimes, fires lay down during the overnight hours and that was not the case with this fire,” said Washington State Trooper Jeff Sevigney. 

Sjoden says he sat on his back porch until two in the morning, watching the fire, not wanting to take his eyes off its direction. But he adds that he couldn't feel too worried, with dozens of firefighters just feet away. 

Crews Tuesday morning say they hope to get the rest of the fire contained by Tuesday night.

Families forced to leave are now heading home, though firefighters say they should be ready to leave again if things change.

“Be mindful of that, be ready to go,” said Sevigney. “As progress is made on the fire line, we expect those evacuation orders to continue to go down.”

Fire officials say with the increasing fire risk, now is the time to make sure you and your home are ready.

“Fire season is here,” said Sevigney. “Especially here in the Columbia Basin.”

Crews from around the state will be on scene for a couple of days to make sure the fire is extinguished.

Fast winds from another direction have been moving in this evening, so crews are monitoring that activity.

A cause of the fire is still being investigated.