Manastash Ridge Fire Update Monday, September 2, 2013
Incident: Manastash Ridge Fire Wildfire
Work on containment lines is 99 percent complete at Manastash Ridge Fire; excess resources being demobilized as crews continue mopping up, monitoring the fire for weeks to come
Cle Elum, Wash. – Dozers, excavators, helicopters, overhead, firefighting crews, and excess equipment are being demobilized from the Manastash Ridge Fire, but the work to mop up and monitor the fire may take several weeks until either cold, wet weather snuffs out the fire, or it simply burns itself out. The fire continues to smolder in the interior of the 2,352-acre fire and torching at times …but, it is not threatening to escape the contingency or direct fire lines constructed over the past 10 days.
Temperatures rose to the high seventies and relative humidity dropped to its lowest level of 30 percent in the fire area yesterday. There was some torching in the interior, but it was not significant enough to warrant air support.
With 99 percent of contingency and direct fire line construction completed, fire management will transition to a Type 3 management team on the Cle Elum Ranger District. The number of firefighters and equipment will be decreasing over the next few days.
Plans were developed last week for burnout operations if the fuels in unburned pockets along fire lines and in the interior of the fire dried out and winds cooperated. But, relative humidity has remained too high in the steep, lower-elevation drainages for an effective burnout. Tactics have been revised to continue mopping up smoldering fuels and use helicopters to drop water should the fire become active. Only 15 percent of the fire has been contained, but the fire has not grown over the past six days. It continues to burn, spotting and creeping very slowly in the interior of the fire. Some portions of the fire perimeter do not have direct fire line because unburned vegetation and snags are hazardous to firefighters. In these areas, contingency lines away from the fire will be used to stop any potential runs through unburned fuels, should the weather over the fire become dry and windy.
Thunderstorms are forecasted for late today through Saturday this week, bringing with them cooler weather and showers. Additional precipitation, shorter days and cooling weather during the next week will not put the fire out and smoke will probably be visible rising from the fire until season-ending rain, and possibly snow, finish the job. Fire managers will continue to watch the fire, but conditions remain too dangerous to put firefighters into a spotty burn with so many falling snags.
Several incidents of firefighters being stung by yellow jackets and hornets have been reported in the fire area. The insects are active in late August, and become agitated during road brushing and clearing along contingency lines. Other minor injuries, including a minor back injury, dehydration, and an eye irritation have also been reported. No serious injuries have been reported.
The Type 3 Management Team will continue to manage the incident with five firefighting crews, three helicopters, and necessary overhead personnel. The team will stay in the existing incident command post visible from Interstate 90 near Thorp, Wash.
The Washington Interagency Incident Management Team #4 has also managed the 1,096-acre Conrad Lake Fire, located 35 miles southwest of Naches, and has transferred command of that fire to a Type 4 organization and the Naches Ranger District. Beginning September 3, information about the Conrad Lake Fire may be obtained from the Naches Ranger District at (509) 653-1401.
To protect firefighter and public safety, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest has closed the vicinity of these fires to public access. Details of the closure boundaries, lists of closed roads and trails, and relevant maps are available on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests website. The public is asked to stay out of the closure area surrounding the Manastash Ridge Fire. Only firefighters, Forest Service or other agency personnel, and law enforcement are allowed access to closure areas. Anyone in the closure area, including people driving motorcycles or off-road vehicles in the restricted area, is subject to fines. Although reevaluated daily, these closure levels are unlikely to change for several days.
Fire danger remains high. Please check the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website for current campfire restrictions. To stay informed of changing air quality conditions, view http://wasmoke.blogspot.com/
Manastash Ridge Fire Facts – Monday, September 2, 2013 – 0900 HOURSFire Size: approximately 2,352 acres
Percent Contained: 15%
Evacuations: No homes or structures threatened.
Manastash Ridge Closures Summary: A detailed list of closures is available on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website. On the Naches Ranger District 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 Ranger District, the area closure prohibits being within the boundaries of the posted closure including Forest Service Road 3100 (Manastash Canyon Road) west of the Forest Boundary.
Fuels: Heavy ground and ladder fuels, high elevation subalpine fir, lodgepole pine and whitebark pine forest.
Air Resources: Aircraft available to the Manastash Ridge and the Conrad Lake Fires are being shared: one Type I helicopter, one Type II helicopter, and one Type III helicopter.
Crews: 2 Type I crews and 5 Type II hand crews.
Engines: 0 Water Tenders: 0 Road graders: 0 Chippers: 3
Total Personnel: 403
Conrad Lake Fire Facts – Monday, September 2 – 0900 HOURSFire Size: approximately 1,096 acres
Percent Contained: 30%
Evacuations: No homes or structures threatened.
Conrad Lake Closures Summary: Road closures near the Conrad Lake Fire include National Forest Roads 1000, 1204, 1205, 1200-725, and the 1070 between its junctions between the 1000 Road and 1070-595 Road. Trail closures include Bear Creek Mountain Trail #1130 and Conrad Meadows. Area closures include Rimrock Peninsula Recreation Area and the boat launch. There is no access from the 1200 Road onto the 1200-711, 1200-712, 1200-713, 1200-714, 1200-715, 1200-716, 1200-725, and 1200-653 roads.
Fuels: Timber litter and understory, meadows.
Air Resources: Aircraft available to the Manastash Ridge and the Conrad Lake Fires are being shared: one Type I helicopter, one Type II helicopters and one Type III helicopter.
Crews: 1 Type II hand crew