TWISP – The Level 2 (be ready) evacuation alert area was expanded late last week for the Twisp River drainage because of the Crescent Mountain Fire.
The area west of Little Bridge Creek was added to a Level 2 alert already in place for the area west of Buttermilk Creek Road. Okanogan County Emergency Management announced the expanded alert the morning of Aug. 9.
As of Aug. 13, the lightning-caused fire had burned across approximately 16,923 acres and was 21 percent contained. Personnel assigned to the fire totaled 624 firefighters and support personnel.
Crescent Mountain and Gilbert fires joined last week. A new fire, McLeod, began Aug. 11 and is being managed with the Crescent fire, which started July 29.
Several other, smaller fires also are burning in the upper Methow Valley. All were caused by lightning.
The U.S. Forest Service said crews mopped up and improved containment lines Sunday as work continued on structure protection efforts to within one-half mile of Twisp. Hoses are being deployed around homes.
In the War Creek drainage, the fire breached containment lines in three places, but four crews were successful in stopping the fire’s progression.
A bulldozer line was established near Poplar Flat and hand crews worked Monday to extend a hand line from there to Slate Lake.
The McLeod Fire includes blazes with initial names of Panther, Isabella, Sunrise West and McLeod. Crews are assessing the fire and structures along Chewuch Road north of Winthrop and along Highway 20.
They are using roads and fire breaks put in place last year during the Diamond Fire.
Lighting has spawned around 20 fires in the upper Methow Valley area. Among them are:
-Doe – Includes the Doe and Doe Falls fires. The fire has burned across about 20 acres. Mop-up will continue.
-Black Pine – Two acres.
-Silverwood – One acre.
-Spruce – 14 acres.
-No Name – 0.1 acre.
-Valley Creek – Five acres.
A fire advisory was issued Saturday by Okanogan County Emergency Management. No evacuation alerts have been issued for the smaller blazes.
The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest has issued a closure order for the fire areas and a temporary flight restriction is in place. Numerous roads in the area are closed.
Meanwhile, fires are burning within the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, said complex officials in Sedro Woolley.
Three are in the north unit of the park complex and one is in the Flat Creek drainage. A fire in British Columbia has closed vehicle access to Hozomeen as of Aug. 9.
The Arctic Jim Fire is in the Arctic Creek drainage north of Mount Prophet and totals around 350 acres. It moved over the north side of the ridge and is being held at a rock scree.
Firefighters are monitoring movement in relation to the Little Beaver Trail.
The Prophet Fire started as a single tree ignition and is showing limited growth. It is west of Ross Lake in a saddle west of Mount Prophet on the ridge between Arctic Creek and Big Beaver.
Firefighters are monitoring movement in relation to Big Beaver Trail.
A third fire, No Doubt, is on the southwest side on the upper third of Nodoubt Mountain. It has grown minimally; firefighters are monitoring movement in relation to the Chilliwack Trail.
The Flat Fire is above the confluence of Flat Creek and the Stehekin River and has burned about 0.2 acre. Water is being dropped from a helicopter and a three-person hand crew hiked in and is using minimum impact suppression techniques, the park service said.
Because of fire activity, entry to the park via Hozomeen is not possible, and permits will not be issued for backcountry trips starting in Hozomeen.
Hozomeen Campground remains open for boat-in or hike-in camping originating from the south.
The Snowy Mountain Fire, burning just north of the international border in British Columbia and about 14 kilometers south of Keremeos, has burned across 13,359 hectares and is out of control, said BC Wildfire Service on Monday. The fire is burning in steep terrain.
British Columbia officials are working collaboratively with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and state Department of Natural Resources because of the fire’s proximity to the border.