WINTHROP – Firefighters from all over the West plus the Washington National Guard have joined the fight against fires burning on opposite sides of Okanogan County and into neighboring counties.
Level 3 (get out now) evacuation notices went out Sunday night, July 25, for residents of several roads in the Wolf Creek area below Sun Mountain Lodge and for the lodge itself. Firefighters ran hoses through Wolf Creek neighborhoods and around the lodge in defense against the Cedar Creek Fire.
Fire activity increased on Sunday, with some spotting reported.
A Red Cross shelter is available at Methow Valley Elementary School.
Cedar Creek Fire is one of three burning in the Methow Valley. Two major fires continue to burn on the Colville Indian Reservation. Firefighters also responded Friday to a blaze south of Electric City that forced evacuations.
So far, one home has been confirmed lost to the Cub Creek 2 Fire north of Winthrop, and 14 structures were destroyed by the Chuweah Creek Fire northeast of Nespelem. Of those, seven were out-buildings, four were unoccupied homes and three were occupied.
A platoon from the National Guard joined firefighters battling the Cub Creek 2 Fire over the weekend.
As of Monday morning, July 26, the lightning-caused Cedar Creek Fire had burned across 24,647 acres of land and was 11 percent contained. Firefighters connected line in the Wolf Creek drainage, then conducted a burnout on each side of the creek.
While doing the burnout, firefighters battled spot fires.
Despite the burnout and hose preparations, fire managers also prepared contingency lines farther south of the fire along forest roads 4410 (Thompson Road) and 4415 (Little Bridge Creek).
Hand crews are building containment lines farther south toward the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness and along its boundary, preparing for fire as it moves south and southwest.
Along Highway 20, the North Cascades Highway, flames have burned to the road between Silver Star Creek and Early Winters Campground. Firefighters continue to patrol the fire’s edge.
The blaze has continued backing down avalanche chutes along the Silver Star drainage.
“The current strategy is to construct containment lines in areas with a high probability of success,” said the U.S. Forest Service. “The objective is to keep the fire in the higher elevations above the valley and away from values at risk.”
Level 2 and Level 3 evacuation notices remain in effect for the Lost River and Early Winters areas, Mazama area and areas along Highway 20 to the Moccasin Ranch and Pine Forest Development areas west of Winthrop.
The Delancy Fire, north of Highway 20, has seen decreased smoke and movement over the past few days. It is expected to continue creeping and smoldering in steep, rocky, sparsely vegetated terrain.
The lightning-caused fire is about 223 acres in size.
Great Basin Team 1 was to assume management of the Cedar Creek and Delancy fires on Tuesday morning from Northwest Incident Management Team 8.
Cub Creek 2 Fire
North of Winthrop, the Cub Creek 2 Fire ballooned by more than 5,400 acres over the weekend to an estimated 44,100 acres on Monday morning, July 26.
Containment was at 10 percent.
The fire remained active overnight from Sunday to Monday, with low humidity helping feed the flames. Hand crews worked through the night and continued line construction, according to the Forest Service.
“The western flank of the fire perimeter remains the top priority, as crews engage in building and strengthening control lines up and out through Sweet Grass Butte into the McLeod Fire scar, where limited fuels will slow its growth,” said fire officials.
Depending on conditions, fire managers plan a strategic burn near forest roads 100 and 157.
Along the southern portion of the fire, crews will reinforce containment lines and continue mop-up and, along the ridgetops of Eightmile and the McLeod burn scar, crews plan ton continue improving control lines.
The eastern flake remains active along Forest Road 37 (Boulder Creek) into Pebble Creek.
California Incident Management Team 1 has charge of the Cub Creek 2 Fire.
Cause of the blaze is under investigation.
Level 2 and Level 3 evacuation notices remained in effect as of Monday afternoon for the Cub Creek and Chewuch areas outside the national forest.
Chuweah Creek Fire
The lightning-caused Chuweah Creek Fire was about 55 percent contained as of Monday morning, July 26, and had blackened about 36,820 acres of land on the Colville Indian Reservation northeast of Nespelem.
Firefighters strengthened lines on the east perimeter on Sunday, holding the blaze on Keller Butte Road and protecting homes along the Highway 21 corridor and in Keller. There was little fire activity on the south, west and north flanks, and decreased activity on the east flank.
Firefighters planned on Monday to mop up, monitor and patrol the blaze. Crews have removed fire-weakened trees on Cache Creek Road, which was scheduled to open Monday.
All evacuation notices have been lifted.
The Central Peak Fire, north of the Chuweah blaze, continues to smolder and creep, but containment lines remained secure as of Monday.
California Incident Management Team 10 is schedule to assume command of the Chuweah Creek Fire today, July 28, and continue managing the Summit Trail Fire. Northwest Incident Management Team 12 has been in charge of the Chuweah blaze.
As of Monday, Buffalo Lake Road remained closed between Manila and Cache Creek roads.
Summit Trail Fire
Hot, dry and windy conditions Sunday led to significant growth of the Summit Trail Fire, burning west of Inchelium on the Colville Indian Reservation.
As of Monday morning, July 26, the fire had burned across 11,256 acres of land and was 5 percent contained.
The blaze established itself in Sitdown Creek as the fire spread mostly north and east with prevailing winds. Crews prepared lines along Grizzly Mountain ahead of the active fire.
On the eastern edge, crews planned Monday to continue working on improving existing roads above and along Bridge Creek Road.
Work done on the western and southern edges of the fire continued to hold, despite the windy conditions.
Level 1 (be aware) notifications remain in place for the area from Lafleur south on Hall Creek Road to Hall Creek Flat, Seyler Valley Road south to Bridge Creek Road, along Bridge Creek Road to the edge of Twin Lakes, and the Twin Lakes area.
Motorists can expect one-way, controlled traffic along Bridge Creek Road from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. between Carson Beach and Beaver Dam Creek.
The boating exclusion for North Twin Lake remains in place.
Other area fires
-The Northrup Canyon Fire, which began July 22, was 95 percent contained as of Monday morning, July 26, after burning across 247 acres of land south of Elmer City. Evacuation notices were lifted.
On Thursday night a Level 2 evacuation notice was issued by the Grant County Sheriff’s Office for the Jones Bay community at the request of U.S. Bureau of Land Management fire command.
Jones Bay community is south of Osborn Bay, east of Highway 155 and about three miles south of Electric City. Police went door to door to notify residents.
State mobilization was authorized at 7:30 a.m. July 23 under the Washington fire services resource mobilization plan at the request of Ryan Fish, chief of the Grand Coulee Fire Department.
The blaze threatened structures and standing wheat. No structures are known to be lost.
On Sunday, on the east side of the fire, a helicopter transported firefighters to their work sites because of the area’s steep, rocky terrain in the Grand Coulee.
“After being flown to the top of the rim, firefighters secured the fire’s eastern border during the shift and then hiked for an hour and 40 minutes down to the highway in the evening,” said the Southeast Washington All Hazards Type 3 Inter-Agency Team.
Helicopter drops of water were used on the northern section of the fire.
Fire management was transferred to local BLM command on Monday morning.
Cause of the fire is under investigation.
-Meanwhile, the Sherwood Fire is burning about two miles northeast of Wellpinit on the Spokane Indian Reservation. As of Monday morning, it had burned about 1,072 acres of forested land and was 30 percent contained.
Cause of the blaze, which began July 21, is under investigation.
Level 2 and Level 3 evacuation alerts are in place for homes in the fire area.
Northwest Interagency Management Team Type 6 is in charge of the fire fight.
-A Level 1 alert went out last week to the Nine Mile Ranch area in the Molson-Chesaw area because of the Nk’Mip Fire burning east of Osoyoos, B.C., and close to the international border.
As of Monday afternoon, the fire was listed at 6,871.8 hectares (about 16,980.6 acres) in size, according to BC Wildfire Service.
-Goddard Road Fire, on the east side of Lake Roosevelt south of Kettle Falls, was listed at 815 acres and 75 percent contained as of Monday afternoon.
-Spruce Canyon Fire, Stevens County, was at 90 acres and 10 percent containment as of Monday afternoon.
-The Red Apple Fire, between Wenatchee and Entiat, was at 12,288 acres and 90 percent containment as of Friday morning.