As of Tuesday, July 29, 2014
LOUP LOUP Fire crews in the Methow Valley are using "ping pong" balls today to burn out an area about two-and-a-half miles northwest of Loup Loup Ski Bowl.
"Its not the Pearrygin Lake burnout we have mentioned will happen at some point," an email from the fire command center at Liberty Bell High School said. "The fire is expected to be a couple hundred acres and you will likely see a visible plume."
The burn is taking place today to eliminate beetle infested trees and jackstraw timber on the eastern edge of the Carlton Complex wildfires.
At 11:16 a.m., officials said crews were starting "a test burn to ensure all conditions are right before starting the firing operation."
Fire officials said the burn out is a combination of aerial and ground operations.
In the aerial operation, "ping pong balls" containing potassium permanganate injected with Glycol. The chemical combination takes a couple minutes to ignite, officials said.
"They are not really ping pong balls, but they look like them," the email said.
On the ground, firefighters have water hoses presoaking the ground in the burnout area.
The combination of operations gives fire crews the ability to start low-intensity burns, officials said.
"There will be multiple lookouts in place to keep an eye on things from a distance," the email said.