Crews gain ground on Chelan Complex

Firefighters discuss their battle plan as the First Creek Fire casts an eerie glow behind them.

Credit: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Firefighters discuss their battle plan as the First Creek Fire casts an eerie glow behind them.

— While winds were whipping the Okanogan Complex Fire into a frenzy yesterday, calmer conditions gave firefighters a chance to build lines around blazes to the south.

Fire crews working the Chelan Complex Fires reported moderate fire behavior yesterday, with an occasional tree torching in the Cooper Ridge area.

Today, crews will work along that steep ridge to try to keep the flames from advancing on Manson.

Six helicopters were also working the fires around Lake Chelan, as were two airplanes carrying retardant.

According to Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest officials, a dozer line from last year's Carlton Complex Wildfire was reopened as a contingency line for the Alta Lake area near Pateros.

The complex now totals 69,445 acres, officials said, noting it is 50 percent contained burning in Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties.

Fire crews working the blazes report that a total of 56 structures have burned in Chelan County and another 17 were destroyed across the Columbia River in Douglas County.

There are 1,139 firefighters, 109 engines, 19 bulldozers and eight aircraft assigned to the complex.

Other nearby fires include:

Black Canyon and McFarland Creek fires

The 6,761-acre Black Canyon and 4,708-acre McFarland Creek fires merged yesterday, creating more activity near Pateros.

Blankenship Fire

The Blankenship Fire burning on Blankenship Mountain west of Lake Chelan is estimated to be 180 acres. The fire is 0 percent contained; further information is not available.

First Creek Fire

Further south near Chelan, crews yesterday were able to get a dozer line in on the First Creek Fire from its southern flank to Granite Falls Road. But the flames out-flanked firefighters on the north.

Crews are improving a previous dozer line from the Lake Chelan shore to Navarre Coulee to protect the southern flank of the fire that has destroyed at least one structure.

The fire remains north of First Creek and has not yet reached Lake Chelan State Park.

Fire officials said the combined blaze is 0 percent contained.

Wolverine Fire

Level 3 fire evacuation notices remain for Holden Village, Lucerne, Domke Lake, Riddle and Lightning Creek as teams cut down hazardous trees in the area today.

On the north side of Lake Chelan, the number of fire engines has been dropped from five to one.

The fire is currently estimated to be 40,470 acres and 30 percent contained.


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