Overview

Tunnel 5 Fire Destroys 10 Structures, Burns 529 Acres

The Tunnel 5 Fire ignited on July 2nd, 2023 on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge in Underwood, WA. The blaze, which quickly scorched 529 acres, led to Level 3 evacuation orders for a 4-mile radius around the fire, affecting roughly 1,200 Skamania County residents. The fire reportedly destroyed 10 structures and posed a threat to numerous more homes.

It took Washington firefighters until July 5th to have the blaze at least 5% contained. Weather conditions primed the area for rapid fire spread, and a red flag warning was issued in the area. Wildfire smoke reduced regional air quality and also exposed residents to poison oak by inhaling smoke from the burning plant. The Tunnel 5 Fire was declared 100% contained on July 11th, 2023.

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Tunnel 5 Fire Resources

Homeowners can sign up to have brushing and limbing performed on their property free of charge

If you or a loved one have experienced a Tunnel 5 Fire evacuation, property damage or loss, smoke inhalation, or any injury, hospitalization, or psychological trauma caused by a recent Evergreen state wildfire, contact an experienced Washington fire lawyer at Singleton Schreiber today for a free consultation. 

The Washington DNR has determined the fire was caused by BNSF Railway, a company with a history of creating small fires across the state due to negligence. Investigators reportedly collected 72 lubricating pads and 2 carbon emission particles from the ignition site, which it concluded sparked 3 fires within a 690-foot distance. 

Singleton Schreiber is preparing a legal case against BNSF to hold the company accountable for its role in the fire. Our Tunnel 5 Fire lawyers have years of fire litigation experience and our goal is to recover the fair and full compensation that people need to move forward with their lives.


Skamania County Under Boil-Water Advisory

The Skamania County Public Utility District issued a boil-water advisory on July 4th for the Underwood area due to low water supply levels. Residents running sprinkler systems to protect their homes from the Tunnel 5 Fire depleted the water supply, causing reservoir and pressure levels to drop. 

“When pressure loss occurs, contamination from the environment or from human or animal waste can be drawn into the water system,” the SCPUD said. “Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term health effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.”

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Tunnel 5 Fire News

Tunnel 5 Fire Updates - Skamania County Sheriff’s Office


Our Washington Fire Lawyers Can Get You Compensation for Damages From the Tunnel 5 Fire

If you or a loved one have been affected by the Tunnel 5 Fire or are struggling with resulting damage from soot or ash, insurance claims, or other impacts, the expert Washington fire lawyers at Singleton Schreiber can help you recover the fair and full compensation you need to move forward with your life.Even if you have insurance, Singleton Schreiber’s Washington fire lawyers can help to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.

If You Have Experienced Any of the Following, You May Be Eligible for Tunnel 5 Fire Compensation.

  • Expensive Evacuation
  • Wrongful Death from Fire or Smoke
  • Hospitalization
  • Serious Burns
  • Other Serious Personal Injury
  • Long-Term Health Effects
  • Psychological Impact
  • Home Loss
  • Structure Loss
  • Damage to Animals/Pets
  • Damage to Timber/Trees
  • Erosion
  • Vegetation Loss
  • Damage to Landscaping
  • Significant Property Damage
  • Economic Loss
  • Agriculture Loss
  • Damage to Infrastructure
  • Business Loss
  • Business Interruption
  • Smoke Damage
  • Damage from Soot & Ash
  • Underinsured Property
  • FEMA Assistance
  • Utility & Other Service Interruptions
  • Housing Market Impacts

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What caused the Tunnel 5 Fire?
    The Tunnel 5 fire was caused by BNSF Railway, according to a preliminary report released by the Washington DNR. Investigators found debris from a BNSF train that had passed through the ignition area minutes before the fire was reported, and it was concluded that these objects started 3 fires that became the Tunnel 5 Fire. 
  • Why is it called the Tunnel Fire?
    The Tunnel 5 Fire was named for its proximity to the WA-14 Tunnel No.5, where railroad and highway paths have been carved through the Columbia River basalts. Built in 1937, there are five sets of tunnels clustered together east of Drano Lake. 
  • How long did the Tunnel 5 Fire last?
    The Tunnel 5 Fire ignited on July 2nd, 2023, and was fully contained on July 11th. Skamania County became aware of the fire at approximately 11:19 am on July 2nd and a fire response team was quickly dispatched to the scene. 
  • Where did the Tunnel 5 Fire start?
    The wildfire ignited in Skamania County, Washington in the Columbia River Gorge near the Oregon border. The fire ignited approximately 2.25 miles west of White Salmon in the unincorporated area of Underwood. 

News & Insights

News

  • Renter sues BNSF Railway over July Tunnel Five Fire, says home, belongings destroyed in blaze
    |Media Mention, The Colombian

    A renter whose home and belongings were destroyed in the Tunnel Five Fire in July is suing BNSF Railway, alleging its operation caused the wildfire in Skamania County.

    Lance Douglas Brooks was ...

  • Man sues BNSF Railway
    |Media Mention, AOL.com

    A wildfire that destroyed homes and other buildings in southwest Washington over the summer of 2023 is now the subject of a lawsuit, one that accuses the BNSF Railway of negligence for sparking ...

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