Okanogan Complex News Release

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Okanogan Complex News Release

Okanogan Complex Update

Incident: Okanogan Complex Wildfire
Released: 8/24/2015

Okanogan Complex Fire Update

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team - Todd Pechota, Incident Commander

Information Center: 509-850-0083

Hours of operation: 7 am – 9 pm

Email: okanogancomplexfire@gmail.com

Aug. 24, 2015

10 am

Current Situation: The Okanogan Complex has grown to 256,657 acres gaining 12,114 acres during the last 24 hours: containment is at 10 percent. Suppression efforts were limited yesterday by smoke and impaired visibility for much of the day. Even so, good progress was made in line construction.

Yesterday, persistent smoke grounded both fixed wing and rotor wing aircraft, including two military Blackhawk helicopters made available for the Okanogan Complex. Because of poor visibility, the Blackhawks were moved to the Chelan Complex where visibility allowed them assist with bucket drops.

Similar conditions are expected today. A Red Flag warning remains in effect with winds primarily from the southwest. Fire managers asked crews to remain aware of their surroundings and protect themselves from falling snag trees and heavy machinery.

Tunk Block Fire: The fire grew approximately 5,364 acres; containment is 15 percent. Smoke from North Star Fire limited visibility in the Aeneas and Tunk Valley neighborhoods. North Star smoke is also moving south and then circling back north through the Okanogan Valley. Crews will build fire line on the north end of the fire as visibility and fire conditions allow. Crews will also construct direct line in heavy fuels along the southeast portion of the fire. On the east flank, firefighters will reinforce lines built near Omak Lookout Road . Sprinklers and water hoses are being laid around the Tunk Valley neighborhood to provide structure protection if needed. As visibility allows, water scoopers will support ground crews with water drops of 800-1,200 gallons each on the east side of Tunk Block.

The Lime Belt/Blue Lake Fire and Beaver Lake Fire: These fires grew together yesterday and are now being treated as one fire which grew by 6,299 acres. Crews today will focus on building direct line and structure protection for the areas near Omak and Okanogan where the two fires have burned together. Hand crews and dozer operators will work the northwest flank. A new spot fire near the top northeast flank of the fire has been lined.

Twisp River Fire: The fire has grown by approximately 454 acres; primarily on the western edge. Crews have successfully held the north, south, and east perimeter for four days, and we expect these lines to hold. Hotshot crews and dozers will work to construct line on the west edge of the fire and anticipate completing these lines in the next few days.

Nine Mile Fire: Currently 4,720 acres and 95 percent contained. This fire is in monitor status.

Community Meetings: Approximately 100 people attended a community meeting at the East Omak Community Center. Fire managers and cooperators gave an overview of current fire status and activities related to the fire's impact on communities. They also discussed what residents should expect in the near future as suppression efforts continue.

Evacuations and Closures: The public is encouraged to contact the Okanogan Emergency Operations Center to learn how to register for automated phone messages in the event of evacuation notices being issued for particular neighborhoods. Contact emergency staff at 509-422-7348 or the Colville Tribal Emergency Management Center at 507-634-2105.

Media Briefings: Media briefings will be held at 11 am daily at Okanogan County Fairgrounds.

Fire Statistics as of Sunday:

Location: Eleven miles northwest of Omak, WA Start Date: August 14, 2015

Complex Size: 256,567 acres Complex Percent Contained: 10

Twisp River: 10,424 acres Total Personnel: 1,250

Tunk Block: 133,410 acres

Lime Belt/Blue Lake and Beaver Lake: 108,013

Nine Mile: 4,720 acres

Places to get additional information:

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

Blog: http://okanogancomplex.blogspot.com/

Twitter: #OkanoganComplex

The Rocky Mountain IMT has a Facebook page dedicated to “Thank You’s to the firefighters working on the fire line. Visit the page at https://www.facebook.com/RockyMtn.Type1.IMT.PIOs

Spanish Language Information: (509) 422-2422

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