By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
The Forest Service was ramping up efforts yesterday after aggressively fighting a forest fire about 10 miles south of Packwood over the weekend, using helicopters to drop water on the flames.
The so-called South Point Fire has grown to more than 250 acres, as east winds contributed to higher fire behavior over the past couple of days, according to a news release Monday from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
“Most of the fire spread has been to the southeast, away from town, so it still seems unlikely this fire will move off forest or threaten the community of Packwood,” District Ranger Garr Abbas said in the news release.
Conditions including rough terrain has kept personnel from fighting the fire on the ground, according to Abbas.
On the east side, the fire is reaching toward the bottom of the Johnson Creek drainage near Forest Road 3115, according to the Forest Service.
Forest Road 21 is closed temporarily to facilitate their suppression efforts.
Abbas noted they are working with the Packwood Fire Department to schedule another community meeting at their station at 7 p.m. on Wednesday to help keep the public informed.
Officials have said they believe the fire was sparked in early September by lightening.
A new fire began over the weekend in the Mineral block of the National Forest that was measured yesterday afternoon at about five acres, but is roughly 65 percent contained and was expected to be fully contained by today, according to Abbas. The new fire presents no known threat to the public or adjacent landowners currently, he stated.
Hoped for shifting winds may help by bringing moister air and cooler temperatures, he noted.
CORRECTION: This news story has been updated to correctly reflect the numbered name of the road near the Johnson Creek drainage.