‘Jenny Creek Fire’ forces evacuations near La Center

Level 3 “Go Now” evacuations have been issued for people living near La Center, Wash. after a fire started north of the town on Wednesday afternoon.
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 6:08 PM PDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2023 at 8:20 PM PDT
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CLARK COUNTY Wash. (KPTV) - Level 3 “Go Now” evacuations have been issued for people living near La Center after a fire started north of the town on Wednesday afternoon.

Many people are in a state of uncertainty wondering if their homes are still standing after a fire broke out in a rural area north of La Center.

People were forced to evacuate the area as the Jenny Creek Fire prompted a Level 3 “Go Now” evacuation order for about a one-mile radius around the 37000 block of Northeast Jenny Creek Road on Wednesday afternoon. Level 2 “Be Set” orders were issued for a three-quarter mile radius from La Center High School.

As of Thursday morning, there were no changes to the evacuation zone.

The fire was still burning late into Wednesday night. Authorities said the fire burned about 30 acres and is about 5% contained, and they will keep crews on it overnight.

People evacuating said they packed up pets and the essentials, and are hoping for the best.

“I got my family’s ashes out of there, everything I could get,” Aaron Stevens, an evacuee, said.

Just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aaron Stevens said he received a frantic call from his daughter.

“Seen smoke coming from my neck of the woods. turns out that was it. She said neighbor’s house is on fire,” Stevens said.

He said he rushed home, packed up what he could, and got his family to safety.

“Their house is on fire. Come to find out it’s pretty dang close so we evacuated all of our animal, wife, my kids got out safe,” Stevens said.

Clark County Fire officials say the fire started near Jenny Creek Road north of La Center. People say the blaze started as a house fire and spread to nearby vegetation and spread quickly in a wooded area.

“I’d say the smoke has gotten a lot wider,” Don, who was driving by, said.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office say deputies were on scene helping people as a Level 3 “Go Now” evacuation order was issued.

“I just got a call to come help, so I hurried over here and called some other friends who are bringing some trailers and livestock trailers and cargo trailers and whatever we can to get out of here,” Christopher Barley, who helped friends evacuate, said.

Residents said they grabbed the essentials.

“You know firearms and documents out of my gun safe, that’s about it,” Stevens said.

And now -- it’s a big waiting game.

“I was waiting for the road to open so I can verify if my house is still there or not,” Stevens said. “Just thankful everybody got out okay.”

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

An evacuation assembly area for evacuated people is being set up at the Ilani Casino RV parking area. People can watch CRESA911.org for more information.