Wenatchee Complex Morning Fire Update, September 21, 2012
Incident: Wenatchee Complex Wildfire
A public briefing will be held tonight at 7 PM at the Leavenworth Fire Hall. Fire officials will be on hand to provide an update on fire activity in the area and to answer questions and discuss issues with the attendees.
Firefighters are collecting donations for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation in honor of Chris Seelye, who fell ill on the fire line on September 17th and passed away at a hospital later that night.
Yesterday was a good day for firefighters, and progress continued through the night. While the inversion has created smoky conditions in the valleys, once again it has also put a damper on fire activity within the Wenatchee Complex. Firefighters have been able to take advantage of the muffled fire behavior by constructing fire line, completing burnout operations, and using water and retardant drops to secure fire perimeters. Rehabilitation efforts are underway on the Byrd and Canyon fires, and will soon begin on First Creek and Poison Fires as mop up is completed.
Highway 97 over Blewett Pass will be closed today from 8 am until 6 pm at milepost 150 (the junction of SR 970-Lauderdale junction) to milepost 177, about 8 miles south of the intersection with Highway 2. Crews will remove dead trees along the highway and prepare the road for use as a possible fireline to contain the spread of the Peavine and Table Mountain fires.
A Fire Weather Watch has been posted for the area today through Saturday due to the forecast of isolated dry thunderstorms that could bring increased wind and lightning.
Evacuation levels remain unchanged from yesterday. Up-to-date evacuation levels on the Wenatchee Complex fire can be found at: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/announcements/3258/
The Klone Fire is approximately 1,000 acres. It continues to burn in heavy timber that has been affected by insects and disease. Crews will continue to brush and chip along Shady Pass and Tommy Creek Roads today. A small new fire was discovered southwest of the Klone fire yesterday and was quickly checked at 1 acre.
The Maverick Fire is approximately 20 acres. Crews have completed hand line around the perimeter of the fire and will continue mop up operations today.
The Canyon Fire, directly west of Wenatchee, and the Byrd Canyon Fire, located just north of Entiat, are both 90% contained. These fires continue to be in patrol status, and crews will continue to mop up into the perimeter of the fires. The Canyon Fire is estimated to be 7,600 acres in size. The Byrd Canyon Fire is estimated to be 13,900 acres.
The Peavine Canyon Fire, located southwest of Wenatchee in upper Mission Creek/Devils Gulch, is burning in shrub and pine forest. It is now 7,870 acres in size and 20% contained. Line construction and burning operations have restricted the easterly growth of the fire. In order to stop the northerly creep of the fire perimeter and corral an actively growing fire to the west, line construction is being planned from Devil's Gulch westerly to Highway 97. Preparation for a possible burnout operation on Highway 97 will begin today with the falling of dead trees near the highway. This will impact travel on Highway 97 for the next few days.
The Poison Canyon Fire, located south of Cashmere, is burning in shrub and pine. Over the last few days, crews have successfully built line around the entire fire, reinforced the line by burning interior fuels near the line, and are now actively mopping up these control lines. With these direct control lines the fire is now approaching 6,000 acres and is 30% contained.
The First Creek Fire, located 10 miles west of Lake Chelan in Chelan County, is approximately 1,240 acres and 30% contained. It is burning in very difficult and steep terrain, but firefighters have had success building direct fireline, implementing structure protection, and constructing contingency lines.
The Pyramid Fire north of Entiat is now over 500 acres in size. The fire continues to move slowly down slope. Fire line improvements along Entiat River Road and County Road 19 will continue.
The Basalt Fire, approximately 10 miles north of Lake Wenatchee in the Chiwawa drainage is approximately 140 acres in size.
The 180-acre Sears Creek Fire, located in the White River drainage above Lake Wenatchee, is slowly backing downhill. Crews will continue to prep the road on the west side of the White River and focus on structure protection.
The Cashmere Mountain Fire, approximately 750 acres, is within the perimeters of the 1994 Rat and Hatchery fires. It does not pose a danger to structures at this time. A group of rappellers and smoke jumpers continue to put in control lines where possible in order to keep the fire from crossing the Eightmile Trail and from reaching Eightmile Road.
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. There is an eastern Washington burn ban prohibiting all outdoor burning, including but not limited to campfires, bonfires, residential yard burning, agricultural burning and fireworks.
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.