Wenatchee Complex Morning Update September 22, 2012
Incident: Wenatchee Complex Wildfire
Evacuation Levels for First Creek and Granite Falls adjacent to the First Creek Fire have been reduced to a Level 1.
Up-to-date evacuation levels under the jurisdiction of the Chelan County Sheriff can be found at: www.inciweb.org/incident/announcements/3258/
Firefighters made good progress again yesterday, and many of the fires within the Complex saw little to no growth. Crews continued rehabilitation efforts on the Byrd Canyon and Canyon fires and mop up operations on the First Creek, Maverick and Poison fires. On the Peavine Fire, crews successfully completed snag removal along a three mile section of Highway 97, which was reopened last night about 7:00 pm. The fire is within one-quarter mile of the highway. Intermittent closures may occur today as the fire encroaches on the roadway. The Table Mountain Fire burned to Mission Ridge on Friday, helicopters were used to check the spread and cool hot spots along the ridgeline. Crews overnight patrolled the Mission Ridge and Squilchuck areas looking for spot fires that may have been caused by the very active Table Mountain Fire.
While the inversion continues to create very smoky and unhealthy conditions for residents and fire fighters, it again 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.
A red flag warning remains in effect from 5 AM Saturday through 6 AM Sunday due to a forecast for abundant dry lightning and dry fuels.
The Klone Fire is approximately 1,071 acres. It continues to burn in heavy timber that has been affected by insects and disease. Crews have completed almost 12 miles of brushing along Shady Pass and Tommy Creek Roads and will start chipping the material today. This will provide a fuel break on the north and south flanks of the fire and serve as a fire break should future fires occur in the area.
The Maverick Fire is approximately 30 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 7,539 acres in size. The Byrd Canyon Fire is estimated to be 13,829 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 7,876 acres in size and 30% contained. Line construction and burning operations have restricted the easterly growth of the fire. In order to stop the northerly spread of the fire perimeter and corral any actively growing fire to the west, line construction is complete from Devil's Gulch westerly to Highway 97. Preparation for a possible burnout operation on Highway 97 was completed yesterday as dead trees (snags) were felled along the road and Washington Department of Transportation crews cleared the highway. Fire activity may close Highway 97 intermittently over the next few days. Please monitor WSDOT web site for the most current information.
The Poison Canyon Fire, located south of Cashmere, is burning in shrub and pine. Over the last few days, crews have completed control lines 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 45% contained.
The First Creek Fire, located 10 miles west of Lake Chelan in Chelan County, is approximately 1,260 acres and 60% 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. Active mop up has begun behind structures and along the control lines.
The Pyramid Fire north of Entiat is now 544 acres in size. The fire continues to move slowly down slope.
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. A spot fire was detected Friday across the Eight mile trail and crews with assistance of helicopter water drops checked the spread and are now constructing control lines.
A public briefing last night in Leavenworth Fire Hall was attended, with over 65 participants. Fire managers provided information on the Wenatchee Complex fires and answered questions from the public.
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. Please slow down in fire areas as very smoky conditions reduce visibility.