Daily Update 9-16-12
Incident: Okanogan Complex Wildfire
The Buckhorn Fire made a 300-acre run Saturday afternoon and advanced to the 125 road. It did not spot or cross any established decision points. On the Leecher Fire, mop up is underway and rehabilitation of containment lines has begun. Crews on the Hunter Fire are mopping up and have begun to assess the rehabilitation needs.
A new fire start was reported near Pateros late Saturday night in the Goat Mountain area and was estimated to be 30 acres on Sunday morning. Firefighting resources have been sent to help with Initial Attack on this fire, including three crews, two engines, a water tender, a task force leader, a Type 1 helicopter and an air attack platform. The fire cause is under investigation.
Yesterday, active fire behavior, running fire, single and group tree torching, as well as short range spotting, was observed. Temperatures in the mid- 80s and humidity in the mid-teens will set the stage for extreme fire behavior again today. This will challenge firefighters, especially on the Buckhorn fire where it will continue to spread, mostly to the southwest and north.
An inversion is expected to build Sunday afternoon, trapping smoke near ground level. Poor visibility associated with the inversion could hamper air operations. Poor air quality in the Methow Valley can also be expected, particularly in the southern portion of the valley.
Beginning today, as helicopters perform bucket dips in the Methow Valley River during daylight hours, a short portion of the Gold Creek Loop Road next to the river will be closed for public and aviation safety.
Road restrictions are still in place on North Fork Gold Creek Forest System Road (FSR) 4340, South Fork Gold Creek FSR 4330, Benson Creek Road FSR 4150, FSR 4150-300, and 4150-200. Trails from Foggy Dew and Crater Creek are also closed at this time. Members of the public are asked to abide by all road closures and barricades.
Fire managers remind the public that fire danger is very high. Drivers should not park near dead or dry grass to avoid igniting a fire. Campers should check fire restrictions before building a campfire and take care to fully extinguish all campfires.