Okanogan Complex News Release

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Okanogan Complex News Release

Aug 20 Update

Incident: Okanogan Complex Wildfire
Released: 8/20/2015

Okanogan Complex Fire Update

August 20, 2015 – 4:00 pm

Fire Information: (509) 723-0813

Website: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4534 or

http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4517/ for Nine Mile Fire Information only

Or Nine Mile Fire information only

The Okanogan Complex consists of five fires. Except for the Nine Mile Fire, all are lightning-caused. Approximately 96,034 acres of grass and timber have burned as indicated by aerial infrared flown in the early morning hours of Aug. 20.

The fires were very active all night with both day and night crews working around the clock. Newly assigned resources continue to arrive and moved into active fire operations. Fire priorities today are public and firefighter safety, and the protection of property and infrastructure.

Since the Nine Mile Fire started, at least 155,000 gallons of retardant and 240,000 gallons of water has been dropped.

There are 7 helicopters, 27 dozers, 50 engines and 729 fire staff currently dedicated to this complex’s five fires. The Okanogan Complex fires experienced active fire behavior yesterday with significant growth in many of the fires.

The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office and Office of Emergency Management continue to work closely with fire operations personnel to identify necessary road closures and evacuations. Individuals registered with the Office of Emergency Management and who live in surrounding areas nearest to the fire received mass advisory notifications. The public should continue to remain aware of their surroundings during all phases of an evacuation. Although fire crews are in the area, homeowners should not expect or rely upon door-to-door notification. Evacuees are encouraged to consider Red Cross shelter options set up at the Brewster High School (503 South 7th Street) and at Tonasket High School (35 ES Hwy. 20 in Tonasket).

As a result of extreme fire behavior and spread, many residents are without power. Residents are asked to work with experienced electricians when installing generators. Okanogan Public Utility District is diligently working to repair the lines. If you experience an outage or need additional information, contact Okanogan County Public Utility District at (509) 422-3310.

As of this morning, the Okanogan Complex fire management team has assumed command of the Twisp River Fire, now known as Branch 3. The fire has grown to 7,873 acres as of midnight, Aug. 19.

The Lime Belt/Blue Lake Fire, once two separate fires, has burned together and is 47,677 acres in size. The fire is burning approximately one mile northeast of the town of Conconully in grass and scattered timber. Due to expected wind conditions, the fire may spread north and south. Firefighters will continue to contain the growth.

The Tunk Block Fire has grown to 31,945 acres and is located four miles northeast of Riverside. This fire has grown and burning in timber with a grass understory. There are 68 firefighters on the fire.

The Lime Belt/Blue Lake and Tunk Block fires expect additional resources to arrive today. In addition, firefighting efforts will be assisted by helicopters specifically dedicated to these fires.

Beaver Lake Fire has grown to 3,819 acres from 723 acres during the last 24 hours. The fire is located about 15 miles west of Omak. A small group of firefighters is looking for access points, clearing indirect fire line and containing spot fires.

Nine Mile Fire is 4,704 acres, located about five miles east of Oroville and 90 percent contained. Fire investigators consider the fire to be human-caused and under investigation. Okanogan Fire District 11 is patrolling the area and will continue to check on the fire.

Closure and Evacuation Information. Please contact the Okanogan Office of Emergency Management for current road closure and evacuation details as conditions are changing quickly. Please check the Office’s web site or phone 509-422-7348 for the most accurate information.

Weather. Today may be warmer and slightly drier, with heavy smoke impairing visibility throughout the Okanogan Valley. The Washington Interagency Incident Management Team 2 (WA IMT2) would like to thank the public for their support during these fires. Fire danger remains extremely high across the state. Be sure to check your fire agencies for local restrictions, forest and state closures.

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