Wenatchee Complex Fire Update September 16, 2012 10:00p.m.
Incident: Wenatchee Complex Wildfire
Tonight's public meeting in Wenatchee was well attended. Fire officials were on hand to answer questions and discuss issues with the attendees.
A combination of factors challenged firefighters today; smoky conditions, snags, steep terrain, rolling logs and extremely dry vegetation. Firefighters continue to work professionally and safely and enjoyed more success than setbacks today. Helicopters supporting the firefighters returned to base in the early afternoon due to smoky conditions.
The Chinook National Guard helicopter was painted for higher visibility, enabling it to join the suppression efforts. Aviation resources will be setting up a batch mixing station for retardant. Helicopters are flying out of Pangborn Field, the Chelan Airport and from the Leavenworth area.
A high pressure system will move in from the coast, causing an inversion this evening. This creates a "dome cap" which will hold smoke in the communities and valleys surrounding the fires. Light winds in the fire area will be terrain driven (3-6mph). Temperatures in the valleys will be 70-80 degrees with relative humidities in the mid-teens to 20%.
Over 300 firefighting resources have moved to a base camp at the Entiat City Park in Entiat, WA. This move is for firefighter and public safety. It reduces drive times and increases time on the firelines. Resources stationed at Entiat will be working on the First Creek, Byrd and Klone fires.
The Canyon Fire, directly west of Wenatchee, continues burning in shrubs and grass and is approximately 8,277 acres. Today, firefighters secured fire lines and continued mop-up activities around structures. No structures have been lost on this fire. Canyon fire is considered 25% contained. Up-to-date information on evacuations can be heard on local media in Wenatchee or by checking www.inciweb.org/incident/3258.
The 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. Sunday crews continued to mop-up around structures and secure firelines. 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. Crews continued to prepare control lines in the Liberty Beehive area south to Mission Peak . US Forest Service Road 7100 was secured and will be used as a control line to prevent northerly movement. The objective is to keep the fire out of Pitcher Canyon. This fire is considered 10% contained.
The Poison Canyon Fire, located south of Cashmere, is burning in shrub and pine. It is approximately 3,478 acres. Hand and dozer lines were put in the area where the fire spotted near Canyon and Mission Roads to prevent the fire from moving into Tripp Canyon and west toward Camas Land. Crews will patrol and mop-up around structures tonight. Poison Canyon fire is considered 10% contained.
The First Creek Fire, located 10 miles west of Lake Chelan, is approximately 1,200 acres. It is burning in very difficult and steep terrain. Today, crews continued line construction along the northeastern and western flanks while others provided structure protection in First Creek and Granite Falls Creek. A Level 3 evacuation remains in place for First Creek and Granite Falls Creek. This fire is considered 10% contained.
The Pyramid and Klone Fires, north of Entiat, are approximately 377 and 570 acres respectively. These fires are burning in timber that was severely impacted by disease and insects. Crews on the Klone fire worked closely with local employees to minimize impact on sensitive and/or threatened resources in the area. Crews worked to protect 37 summer recreation cabins. The lower parts of the cabins were wrapped along with propane tanks and firewood was removed from the area. Sprinklers were installed on multiple homes and aimed on shake roofs. Firefighters also worked on contingency lines to the southeast, 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. The Yakima Complex has been divided with two Washington State Incident Management Teams assigned. We will be working closely with Team #2 lead by Incident Commander Rex Reed.
The Incident Management Team continues to have initial attack responsibility for all wildland fires within Chelan County. Resources will be mobilized when there is a new start.
The area is extremely dry and conditions are right for rapid fire growth on existing fires and new fire starts. All outdoor burning is restricted and campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds on Federal Lands. All outdoor burning including campfires is banned in all counties east of the Cascades through midnight, September 18. 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 suppress these fires. It is vital that the community cooperate with evacuations, road closures, and avoiding areas of high traffic for fire suppression.