Rain calms fires

TWISP — Rain and higher relative humidity over the weekend allowed firefighters to make a direct attack on the Crescent Mountain Fire, which has been burning for a month in the Twisp River drainage.

The fire is one of several burning in the area.

Light showers also helped clear the air, allowing people in the Okanogan Valley to see blue skies, fluffy clouds and mountains surrounding the valley for the first time in a couple weeks. As of mid-afternoon Monday, the air quality index was 12 (good), after being in the unhealthy range in the 160s and 170s, according to airnow.com.

On the Crescent Mountain Fire, firefighters made a direct attack on the fire in the Buttermilk Butte and Twisp River valley areas. They tightened the perimeter and secured more of the active fire edge, said the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

In the Slate Lake area, crews worked with two helicopters to cool the fire edge while continuing to construct control lines.

Level 3 evacuation alerts remain in effect for the area west of the Little Bridge Creek intersection. A Level 2 alert is in place for the area west of Newby Creek Road to Little Bridge Creek Road, and an advisory was issued for Poorman and Libby creeks.

A Red Cross shelter is available at the Methow Valley Community Center, 201 E. Methow Valley Highway, Twisp.

The lightning-caused fire began July 29. As of Monday, it had burned across 42,784 acres of land and was 24 percent contained.

Estimated containment date is Oct. 22.

Other area fires include:

• McLeod – 31,585 acres, 5 percent contained. The lightning-caused fire is about eight miles north of Mazama. Light rain on the weekend assisted firefighters in making a direct attack on the blaze, the U.S. Forest Service said.

A focused effort is along Forest Road 5220 and into the Sweetgrass area.

-Holman – 284 acres, no containment. The fire, of unknown origin, began Aug. 17 on Holman Peak in the Pasayten Wilderness.

The fire is burning actively in the wilderness area. The Pacific Coast Trail is closed from Hart’s Pass to the Canadian border, forest officials said.

-Kelly Mountain – 44 acres, 85 percent contained. Firefighters are mopping up and moving out, according to InciWeb. The lighting caused fire north of Republic was reported Aug. 11.

-Kettle River, 49 acres, 100 percent contained. The lightning-caused fire was reported Aug. 11 northwest of Curlew.

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