(Wenatchee, WA) Following a severe lightning storm that covered much of eastern Washington on Saturday, September 9th, a series of fires were discovered. Local resources from the United States Forest Service (USFS), Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Spokane District BLM, Wenatchee Fire Districts 1 and 7,Chelan Fire Districts 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 and Chelan County Sheriff’s office began suppression efforts. These organizations and the firefighters that responded were instrumental in minimizing losses and keeping folks safe.
The Type 1 National Incident Management Team, headed by Incident Commander Jeff Pendleton, is assessing the affected areas, suppressing fires, ordering and assigning resources while providing for public and firefighter safety. Fires which pose the greatest risk to human life, property, and natural resources are being staffed first along with any new fires.
Smokey conditions are expected throughout the Wenatchee valley and communities surrounding the fires. A weak cold front will move through the area changing wind directions from south southwest to west. The inversion trapping the smoke should lift around 1 pm today, however the mixing height to dissipate the smoke is between 2000-2500 feet.
Canyon Fire, directly west of Wenatchee, is burning in shrub and grass and is approximately 7,900 acres. Today firefighters will continue to clear around homes and hold current lines in Number 2 Canyon. Crews are working to connect Number 1 and 2 Canyons which will allow for a burnout to reduce fuels between homes and the fire. This is expected around the Gun Club and to the north. The objective is to protect life and provide structure protection. Chelan County Sheriff’s Department will assess and adjust evacuation levels as deemed appropriate. Up to date changes can be heard on local media in Wenatchee or by checking www.inciweb.org/incident/3258.
Byrd Canyon Fire, approximately 13,300 acres, just north of Entiat Washington, is burning in grass and shrub. The burnout is complete and crews will start to mop up. Resources will be shifted to First Creek as needed. This fire is considered 35% contained.
The Pevine Canyon Fire, southwest of Wenatchee in upper Mission Creek/Devils Gulch, is burning in shrub and pine and is approximately 4,000 acres. Crews will scout and then prepare control lines in the Liberty Beehive area. Firefighters will be reinforcing lines and burning out where necessary to keep fire out of Pitcher Canyon.
The Poison Canyon Fire, due south of Cashmere, is burning in shrub and pine. It is approximately 2,100 acres. Today, crews will work to keep the fire out of Brisky, Brender and Tripp Canyons to the north and west of the current fire perimeter. Structure protection remains in place.
The First Creek Fire, 10 miles west of Lake Chelan, is approximately 500 acres. It is burning in very difficult and steep terrain. The Del Rosa and Entiat Hotshot crews will be working in this area. Crews will scout and construct control lines while looking for contingency lines. A Level 3 evacuation was issued yesterday for First Creek and Granite Creek. Crews are implementing structure protection.
The Pyramid Fire, due north of Entiat is approximately 10 acres. This fire is burning in timber that was impacted severely by disease and insects. This fire is currently not staffed and is being monitored.
The Incident Management Team is responsible for all initial attack on fires within Chelan County. Resources will mobilize when there is a new start.
The Incident Management Team would like to express appreciation to the community for your support and help in our efforts to fight these fires. It is vital that the community cooperates with evacuations, road closures, and avoiding areas of high traffic for fire suppression.
Personnel to support the suppression efforts are arriving hourly. Hand crews, including four 20 person hot shot crews, have arrived and will be dispersed where needed.