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Three-alarm fire at Fort Steilacoom Park prompts neighborhood evacuation

The Lakewood Police Department has urged residents near Fort Steilacoom Park to evacuate their homes Wednesday afternoon as crews battled a nearby fire in the park, not far from Pierce College's Fort Steilacoom branch.

The evacuation order was voluntary and was lifted at 5 p.m., but firefighters continued to put out the flames located near Waughop Lake, a popular destination for joggers and walkers. Crews remained at the site over night to watch for hot spots.

RELATED: West Pierce Fire has already put out as many brush fires as it did in all of 2022

Around 1:40 p.m., the incident was classified as a two-alarm fire. It was upgraded to a three-alarm fire around 2 p.m. At 3:24 p.m., two helicopters with state Department of Natural Resources arrived and began dropping water on the fire from the air.

City officials are asked residents around 98th Street Southwest to 100th Street Southwest to evacuate. The Red Cross opened an evacuation center at Lakewood's Dr. Claudia Thomas Middle School.

Tacoma Public Utilities shut down power in the area due to the fire. Around 3,000 customers were affected by the outage.

The fire at Fort Steilacoom Park comes shortly after an Aug. 4 fire in Lakewood that destroyed nine homes and damaged five others at a mobile home park, and killed two people. A brush fire in a nearby field spread to the homes.

The incident at Fort Steilacoom Park is the type of fire that West Pierce Fire and Rescue has been worried about — wildland/urban interface. These are areas where forested land is adjacent to neighborhoods. This year has already been busy for the fire department, which put out as many brush fires from January to July as it did in all of 2022.

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