Nakia Creek Fire in Clark County caused by ‘pyrotechnic’

By Jeff Thompson (OPB)
Oct. 19, 2022 8:35 p.m.

Clark County officials say the Nakia Creek Fire was caused by a “pyrotechnic,” and they’re still looking for two men and two women in a light-colored Subaru nearby.

The Nakia Creek Fire in Clark County is burning nearly 2,000 acres and causing air quality issues from Portland to Seattle.

The fire started on Oct. 9 on Larch Mountain, northeast of Camas. Officials said this week they believe it was caused by a “pyrotechnic.”

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The Nakia Creek Fire in Clark County is burning nearly 2,000 acres and causing air quality issues from Portland to Seattle.

The Nakia Creek Fire in Clark County is burning nearly 2,000 acres and causing air quality issues from Portland to Seattle.

Courtesy of Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency

Clark County Fire Marshal Dan Young said investigators are fortunate that an eyewitness visiting Larch Mountain spotted the smoke in the area and got video on his cellphone.

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“He was probably about 1,000 yards above, saw smoke, and he started videotaping,” Young said. “As you see in the video, there’s a little puff of smoke. We’re not sure what they were doing; we’re calling it a pyrotechnic at this time. We don’t know if it’s a firework or a firearm, or something like that. Anyway, he pans over and you can see there’s a couple starts of smoke.”

The video also shows a light-colored Subaru. But because it was taken from so far away, that’s about all the info investigators have.

“This was a phone,” Young said. “And you know, we got the best quality we could. But we don’t have fake technology like on ‘CSI’ that can enhance and, ‘Get me a license plate from this,’ right? That’s why we’re asking the public for help.”

Young said there are other eyewitnesses who’ve come forward, who tried unsuccessfully to put the fire out right after it began. The fire spread quickly Sunday due to unseasonably warm temperatures and gusty winds. Since then, improved weather conditions have allowed firefighters to gain better control of the fire and reduce the threat to nearby homes.

Releasing the video also has led to several more tips for investigators. But they’re still looking for two men and two women in the Subaru seen on the video.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office at 564-397-3320.

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