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Forest Service Identifies Fallen Fire Fighter

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Forest Service Identifies Fallen Fire Fighter

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September 19, 2012

(Wenatchee, WA) “Our condolences go out to the family of Chris Seelye the timber faller from Darby Montana who was working in the Entiat area yesterday when he became ill.  He was treated by incident medical personnel and transported to a nearby hospital.  He passed away that evening.  Firefighters this morning took a moment of silence to remember our fallen comrade.” From the National Forest Service Press Release.

While factors continue to challenge the operational effort, firefighters made use of the inversion, which kept the fire intensity low.  They made good progress on several fronts of the fires.  Smoke trapped under the inversion prevented air resources from being used today except for in the north on the First Creek Fire.  Visibility deteriorated in the late afternoon and all helicopters safely returned to base.

The high pressure system is expected to continue throughout the week and winds may increase tonight to 20 miles per hour.  The air quality is not expected to improve, with the worst conditions in the late evening and early morning hours.

Up-to-date information on evacuations can be heard on local media in Wenatchee or by checking www.inciweb.org/incident/3258.

The Canyon Fire, directly west of Wenatchee, is 70% contained.  Evacuation levels have been modified; Number 1 Canyon is at a level 1.  Number 2 Canyon from above the gun club to the end of the road, and Sties Canyon are at level 2. Today, crews continue to mopped up into the perimeter of the fire.  A strike team of engines will patrol through the night, watching for any unexpected fire activity.  The tremendous amount of resources utilized during the beginning of this fire has paid off with no loss of structures. The Canyon Fire is approximately 7,575 acres.

The Byrd Canyon Fire, located just north of Entiat, is also in patrol status.  It is 80% contained and approximately 13,981 acres in size.  Resources are being transitioned to other fires in the area as they complete their assignments.

The Peavine Canyon Fire, located southwest of Wenatchee in upper Mission Creek/Devils Gulch, is burning in shrub and pine forest. It is 6,233 acres in size.  Line construction and burning operations are underway on this fire.  A special swing shift of personnel is in place to monitor and mop up this operation into the night.  This fire is 10% contained.

The Poison Canyon Fire, located south of Cashmere, is burning in shrub and pine. It is approximately 3,689 acres.  Hand lines were improved and reinforced today on the north edge of the fire.  Along other perimeters crews continue to utilize roads and ridgelines for indirect fire line.  Structures protection is in place for the Tripp and Mission Creek area.  A dozer line has been constructed between the fire and properties in Camas Meadows on the westside of the fire. This fire is 10% contained.

The First Creek Fire, located 10 miles west of Lake Chelan, is approximately 1,242 acres.  It is burning in very difficult and steep terrain. Helicopters are supporting firefighters on the ground and reinforcing the hand line on the western perimeter with bucket drops.  Crews working from the top on the eastern perimeter bumped down the slope picking up hot spots.  Scouting and construction of contingency lines have been completed.  A Level 3 evacuation remains in place for First Creek and Granite Falls Creek. This fire is 30% contained.

The Pyramid (413 acresand Klone Fire, (656 acres) north of Entiat are burning in timber that was severely impacted by disease and insects.  Crews on the Klone fire will continue to work with local resource advisors to minimize impact to sensitive and/or threatened resources in the area. Firefighters are protecting the recreation cabins by clearing vegetation, wrapping fire protective material around the base of the cabins and installing sprinklers on or near the cabins.  Fire line improvements along Entiat Road, County Road 19 will continue.

The Basalt Fire, approximately 10 miles north of Lake Wenatchee in the Chiwawa drainage, is approximately 112 acres in size:  The fire management team is in the process of developing a strategy to manage this fire.

The Sears Creek Fire, located in the White River drainage above Lake Wenatchee, is approximately 30 acres in size. The fire management team is in the process of developing a strategy to manage this fire.

The Cashmere Mountain Fire, approximately 184 acres, is within the perimeters of the 1994 Rat and Hatchery Fires. It does not pose a danger to structures at the present time.  A group of rappellers and smoke jumpers hiked in to this fire and are working to put in control lines where possible

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. All outdoor burning is restricted and campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds and in the wilderness on National Forest Lands in Chelan County.

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.

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