Okanogan Complex News Release

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Okanogan Complex News Release

Okanogan & Chelan Complex Update for 9-12-15

Incident: Okanogan Complex Wildfire
Released: 9/12/2015

September 12, 2015, 9:00 AM

Okanogan Complex Fire Update

Fire Information: 877-568-0458 or 877-574-5148, 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Size: 132,682 acres

Estimated Cost to Date: $38 million

Containment: 85 percent

Injuries: 7

Total Personnel: 982

Residences Damaged or Destroyed: 120

Committed Resources: 19 crews, 41 engines, 5 helicopters, 7 dozers, 19 water tenders, 2 skidgines, 13 masticators

Today will be the last day of hot, dry weather over the fire area before a dry cold front moves in this evening. The high temperature range today will be from the mid-70s to mid-90s. The minimum relative humidity will be from 13 to 20 percent. The fire was moderately active yesterday as unburned pockets of fuel in the fire’s interior burned and produced smoke visible to residents in surrounding communities. The same fire behavior can be expected today. Firelines remain secure, and the fire does not pose a threat to structures or communities near the perimeter. Smoke from Canadian fires might be visible again today in the Okanogan Valley.

The fire is moderately active in two areas: on the northern tip, east and west of the Sinlahekin Valley, and on the western side, in the Cabin Creek area and along Forest Road (FR) 42 north of Buck Mountain. Firefighters are still doing a lot of fire-suppression work in that area, and FR 42 remains closed to the public. Other Forest Service roads in the fire area are also closed. Although not every closed road is staffed by law enforcement personnel, each closed road is identified with a sign or barricade. The public is asked to respect the closures for their own safety and for firefighter safety.

Suppression-repair groups are working east of Conconully and on the south side of the fire. Firefighters are chipping piles of slash that were created during dozer-line construction. Along roads, felling crews will continue to cut fire-weakened trees that could pose a threat to public safety when roads are reopened. Five helicopters are assigned to the Okanogan Complex but are also available to assist firefighters on nearby fires, such as the Chelan Complex, Tunk Fire, and North Star Fire.

Chelan Complex Fire Update

Fire Information (new number): 206-276-9126, 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Size: 88,873 acres

Estimated Cost to Date: $19.3 million

Containment: 80 percent

Injuries: 10

Total Personnel: 384

Residences Damaged or Destroyed: 23

Committed Resources: 7 crews, 28 engines, 1 dozer, 24 water tenders

Single-tree torching occurred yesterday as the weather became hotter and drier on the fireline, which caused increased smoke in the area. Increasing winds will be a cause for heightened awareness today. Islands of unburned fuels on the interior of the fire are slowly burning as well. Those burning interior islands are not a threat to the firelines. The public should expect fire behavior to increase through the weekend. You can expect to see large helicopters dipping in the river near the Gold Creek area. Please exercise caution when driving Highway 153 in that area.

Due to steep and rugged terrain, the northwest side of the fire is proving difficult to access and establish anchor points. The fire will continue to be monitored in the Saint Luise Creek area. Crews will continue to patrol on the south and southeast side of the fire today. Crews will also hold and improve control lines on the north and northeast side of the fire. The objective is to hold the fire north of Sawtooth ridge.


EVACUATIONS AND ROAD CLOSURES

· The Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest issued an area closure, effective September 4, 2015, for federal lands in the fire area: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/4534/29367/ or http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/okawen/alerts-notices

· Okanogan County Emergency Operations Center provides information on evacuations and road closures:

509-422-7348, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Okanogan.County.Emergency.Management

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National Wildfire Coordinating Group U.S. Forest Service Bureau of Land Managemen Bureau of Indian Affairs Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service National Association of State Foresters U.S. Fire Administration
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