Wenatchee Complex Fire Update September 15, 2012 9:00p.m.
Incident: Wenatchee Complex Wildfire
A Public Meeting will be held at the Town Toyota Center on Sunday, September 16 at 7:00 p.m.
The Wenatchee Complex of fires was the result of a severe lightning storm that covered much of eastern Washington on Saturday, September 9th. Local resources from the United States Forest Service (USFS), Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Spokane District BLM, Wenatchee Fire Districts 1 and 7, Chelan Fire Districts 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 and Chelan County Sheriff's office immediately began suppression efforts. These organizations and the firefighters that responded were instrumental in minimizing losses and keeping folks safe.
Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 3, a National Type 1 Management Team, headed by Incident Commander Jeff Pendleton, continues to manage this complex. As the inversion lifted this afternoon and winds increased, fire activity across the area increased significantly. Aggressive suppression efforts continued with ground resources constructing fire line and attempting to hold on to what was constructed over the last few days. The air cleared today allowing aerial resources to engage the fire with retardant drops by air tankers and water drops by helicopters. Two National Guard helicopters joined the suppression efforts today flying out of Pangborn air field. The other helicopters are flying out of Chelan airport and from the Leavenworth area. They have been busy all day working existing fires and initial attacking newly discovered fires. Sunday, the National Guard helicopter will be flying out of the Leavenworth area.
Smoky conditions are expected in the Wenatchee Valley and surrounding communities overnight Saturday. The smoke should clear in the afternoon tomorrow. Winds overnight could be gusty over the ridges with gusts 15 to 20 mph coming out of the north.
An additional camp has been set up at the Entiat City Park. Resources assigned to the First Creek, Byrd and Klone fires will work from Entiat to reduce travel time and increase time on the fire lines.
Canyon Fire, directly west of Wenatchee, continues burning in shrubs and grass and is approximately 8,040 acres. Today, firefighters secured fire lines and started mop up activities around the homes that were saved Friday night by the burnout operations. Saturday was the first day the fire did not move. No structures have been lost on this fire. Tonight crews will continue mop up and securing fire lines around structures. This fire is considered to be 25% contained. Up-to-date information on evacuations can be heard on local media in Wenatchee or by checking www.inciweb.org/incident/3258.
Byrd Canyon Fire, is approximately 13,960 acres, and is located just north of Entiat, Washington. The fire is burning in grass and shrub land. Saturday and Saturday night crews continued mop up around structures and securing fire lines. This fire is considered 45% contained.
The Peavine Canyon Fire, located southwest of Wenatchee in upper Mission Creek/Devils Gulch, is burning in shrub and pine forest and is approximately 5,255 acres. Saturday, crews prepared control lines in the Liberty Beehive area for burnout operations and along the USFS 7100 Road. The USFS 7100 Road will be used as a control line to prevent northerly movement. The objective is to keep the fire out of Pitcher Canyon. No burnout operations were conducted Saturday. This fire is considered 5% contained.
The Poison Canyon Fire, located south of Cashmere, is burning in shrub and pine. It is approximately 3,000 acres. Today, crews fought hard to keep the fire from moving North into Tripp Canyon. Retardant drops and use of heavy lift helicopters dropping water supported line construction along the ridge top. They were successful as night fell. Overnight crews will extend these efforts and will continue patrol and mop up around structures along Mission Creek. This fire is considered 10% contained.
The First Creek Fire, located 10 miles west of Lake Chelan, is approximately 1,440 acres. It is burning in very difficult and steep terrain. Today, additional resources were assigned and continued line construction started on Slide Ridge. The conditions were right for building fire line immediately adjacent to the fire, (direct line construction) to minimize the burned area. They were supported by retardant drops and bucket work. They were successful in keeping the fire from crossing into the Twenty-five Mile Creek drainage. A Level 3 evacuation remains in place for First Creek and Granite Falls Creek. This fire is considered 5% contained.
The Pyramid and Klone Fires, north of Entiat are approximately 317 and 225 acres respectfully. These fires are burning in timber that was impacted severely by disease and insects. Again on Saturday these fires experienced increased fire behavior, and the Klone fire has now reached a point that requires aggressive suppression actions. Specific resources have been ordered to begin preparing contingency lines as the fire moves southeasterly toward the Entiat Valley.
Fires within the Yakima Complex in Kittitas County south and west of the Wenatchee Complex continue to actively burn, with evacuations on going. Both Incident Management Teams are coordinating their suppression efforts on these fires.
The Incident Management Team continues to have initial attack responsibility for all wildland fires within Chelan County. Resources will mobilize when there is a new start.
The area is extremely dry and conditions are set for rapid fire growth on existing and new fire starts. All outdoor burning is restricted and campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds on State and Federal Lands. Hunters and recreationists are asked to be aware of and conform to fire restrictions that are in place.
The Incident Management Team would like to express appreciation to the community for your support and help in our efforts to fight these fires. It is vital that the community cooperates with evacuations, road closures, and avoiding areas of high traffic for fire suppression.