Manastash Ridge Fire Update Friday August 23, 2013 0900 Hrs
Incident: Manastash Ridge Fire Wildfire
Smoke visible from many communities but no structures threatened.
1,000-acre Manastash Ridge Fire burning through high elevation forests near Cle Elum, Washington.
Cle Elum, Wash. – The Manastash Ridge Fire, burning in the high-elevation forests of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests, has grown to approximately 1,000 acres. The fire is approximately 12 miles southwest of Cle Elum, Wash., near Shoestring Lake on the North side of the Manastash Ridge Trail, approximately three miles southwest of Manastash Camp. The smoke it is producing is clearly visible from surrounding communities.
The Washington Interagency Incident Management Team #4, under the command of Larry Nickey, incident commander, took control of the fire at 6 a.m. today.The Fire is not threatening homes or structures at this time, but is producing a smoke column that can be seen from the towns of Ellensburg, Naches, Yakima and Cle Elum, Wash. Winds out of the west are expected to carry smoke throughout the Kittitas Valley and as far east as Ellensburg today.
The fire grew nearly 400 acres to the north late yesterday afternoon, nearly doubling the fire size. Last night, a thermal belt over the fire area kept temperatures high and fire activity high. Today, erratic winds generated by thunderstorm cells are predicted.
Presently, the fire is torching and spotting, and moving slowly to the east along the top of the Manastash Ridge. The ground is extremely difficult to access over the basalt rock terrain. There are very few roads into the area. Fire suppression activities are focused on keeping the fire from spotting into stringers of timber below and south of the Ridge.
The operational tactics being used today include reconnaissance from the air and by ground, evaluating conditions to determine where firefighters can directly fight the fire. Three 20-person fire crews are expected to arrive today. Meanwhile, initial attack firefighters and a Type II firefighting crew will prepare fire lines east of the active fire perimeter tying their lines into rocky outcrops and natural barriers. The action keeps firefighters safely away from the fire. The fire will be allowed to burn to the strengthened lines.
The fire was started by lightning, along with approximately 30 others on August 9. All of the local fires except this one and the Conrad Lake Fire were controlled by initial attack forces. The Manastash Ridge Fire, burning at 6,000 feet elevation in subalpine fir/whitebark pine forest types, became active on Monday, August 19. Jumpers and rappellers attempted to make use of natural rock barriers, helicopter water bucket drops and some retardant to slow fire spread. Retardant dropped along the east flank of the fire and along the rim of the Ridge Wednesday was not effective in stopping the spread of the fire because gusty winds were producing ¼-mile spotting.There is no estimated containment at this time.
The Manastash Ridge area is popular with hunters, hikers and off-road recreationists. An emergency closure of several road and trail systems leading into the fire area has been implemented by the Cle Elum and Naches ranger districts to ensure public and firefighter safety. Only firefighters, Forest Service or other agency personnel, and law enforcement are allowed access to these areas. Closure notices have been posted at trailheads and other entry points on both the Cle Elum and Naches sides of Manastash Ridge. A detailed list of closures is available on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website. On the Naches side this includes Forest Service Road 1701 before the Funny Rocks Area and the 1900 road system leading north from Little Naches to Quartz Mountain. On the Cle Elum side, closures include the Manastash Ridge Trail, Shoestring Trail, and roads south from Manastash and Rider’s Camps. Manastash Canyon Road (FS Road 3100) is open to Quartz Mountain.
Roads near the fire will continue to be assessed for closure needs. Closures will depend upon fire activity, weather conditions, and other factors. Visitors should be aware of closures and monitor web sites or call Menastash Fire Information at (509) 607-6321.
To stay informed of changing air quality conditions, view http://wasmoke.blogspot.com/
Fire Facts – Friday, August 23, 2013 – 0900 HOURSFire Size: approximately 1,000 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Evacuations: No home or structures threatened.
Manastash Ridge Closures Summary: A detailed list of closures is available on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website. On the Naches side this includes Forest Service Road 1701 before the Funny Rocks Area and the 1900 road system leading north from Little Naches to Quartz Mountain. On the Cle Elum side, closures include the Manastash Ridge Trail, Shoestring Trail, and roads south from Manastash and Rider’s Camps. Manastash Canyon Road (FS Road 3100) is open to Quartz Mountain.
Fuels: Heavy ground and ladder fuels, high elevation subalpine fir and whitebark pine forest.
Air Resources: One air attack platform, two Type II helicopters and one Type III are available from Conrad Lake Fire if needed.
Crews: Feller Crew, 1 Type II Crew
Engines: 0 Dozers: 1 Water Tenders: 0
Total Personnel: Approx. 100 (55 overhead)