Cowlitz County, WA Area Forest Fires, Sept 1902



Later News From Various Fire Centers Confirms Previous Reports of Great Destruction ....Most of the Loss of Life So Far Recorded Occurred in Cowlitz County.

Seattle, Sept. 15 - A special dispatch to the Post-Intelligence from Kalama Wash., says:

News has just reached here that the forest fires on Lewis river have wrought sad havoc. D. L. Wallace and wife and two children were burned to death. They were camping in the woods when caught by the fire. Their wagon was found burned up, and the charred bodies were lying near. A 12-year-old boy of Mr. Henley is dead also, Mrs. Polly and a baby, and a brother, name not known, and Mr. Newhouse and Mrs. Graves, are dead. Fifteen others were found without clothing, except gunny sacks.

Five logging camps are burned out complete. The worst of the fire is on Lewis river, about twelve miles above Woodland. The country is well settled and there are doubtless other casualties not yet reported. The fire has spread from Lewis river north to the Kalama river, and fifty of the finest sections of timber on the coast are destroyed. It is impossible to give any estimate of the amount of damage done to property. Oak Point, about twenty miles below here on the Columbia river, is totally destroyed. There are no reports of lives lost, but loss of property is estimated at about $300,000.

A great fire is also raging on the Coweeman in the northern part of the county. Everything in its path that is combustible is consumed. Nothing like it was ever seen here by white men. The air is thick with smoke and falling ashes. Two men from Barr's camp are reported missing. People are panic stricken, and many are almost crazed from grief over loss of property. Cowlitz county thought it was going to escape until Saturday, when the reports came thick and fast, and the latest ones are worst. Five people are dead and two missing, with only partial reports from the burned district.

A courier has just arrived from Lewis river, who states that there are only two houses left standing on the Lewis from Strait's place to the head of the river, a distance of thirty miles, and not less than fifteen persons have perished.

Portland, Sept. 13. - The results of the forest fires which are raging in this vicinity may be summed up substantially as follows up to the present time:

The weather bureau gives no promise of rain within the next twenty-four hours.


Three Said to Have Perished in the Vicinity of Aberdeen.

Aberdeen, Wash., Sept. 12. - A. P. Stockwell, a prominent lumberman, has just returned from his camp, 21 miles north of here, and reports the woods are on fire for many miles, and that many millions of feet of lumber have been destroyed. The air was black with smoke, and great balls of fire were rolling over some sections beyond which Mr. Stockwell passed. Several camps have been burned, including a part of Polson Bros.' outfit on the Hoaquiam river. At Polson's three men lost their lives fighting fire, and all horses and a good deal of camp outfit were burned. Also a great many cut logs were lost.

In the Quillayute Valley.

Port Angeles, Wash., Sept. 13. - Remarkable atmospheric conditions have revailed along the Strait of Fuca all day, due, presumably, to the smoke of forest fires. Although cloudless, the sky became so heavily overcast by noon as to wholly obscure the sun, and before the middle of the afternoon it became necessary to turn on lights in all the business houses here.

Everett Is Cut Off.

Everett, Sept., 13. - The worst fires in twenty years are raging around Everett. Telegraphic communication between this city and Seattle is cut off , the telegraph companies not having had a wire out of town since noon. No damage, however, except standing timber, has been reported here. The city is enveloped in smoke, and the sun was shut out early in the afternoon.

In the Vicinity of Anacortes.

Anacortes, Wash., Timber fires are raging on the neighboring islands and the mainland, and the atmosphere is so heavy with smoke that navigation is difficult. No casualties are reported, and little damage is reported thus far except to timber.

WINLOCK PILOT, Lewis County Washington Sept. 19, 1902