Fire Update - August 17
Incident: Chelan Complex Wildfire
The Chelan Complex (Reach, Antoine, Cagle Fires) challenged firefighters and threatened many structures over the last 24 hours. Crews continued structure protection efforts on several fire fronts, while putting plans into place for building containment lines where possible. Resources from several agencies have been working to protect homes and slow the fires’ spread.
Firefighters remain focused on extended attack both day and night, and are scouting opportunities to work offensively to implement a containment strategy. Several resources have been mobilized to assist in the firefighting effort, including teams from the Washington Department of Natural Resources, State Fire Marshal, and Army National Guard. A night shift of five state mobilized strike teams (of five engines each) is assisting with firefighting activities. Six helicopters are assisting with water drops, crew shuttle, and reconnaissance. Additionally, two fixed wing aircraft will be conducting water and retardant drops as needed.
Chelan Complex is actively spreading in several directions, burning in brush, short grass, and timber to the north of Chelan and on both sides of the Columbia River. Burnouts and dozer lines completed on the southern flank held the fire, protecting many homes and areas along the Columbia River. Yesterday and last night, on the northwestern flank near Washington Creek and Echo Ridge, firefighters worked to protect structures, build dozer line, and control spotting. The fire has slowly spread into the east side of Union Valley and northwest to Washington Butte. Today firefighters will be working from established anchor points and provide point and zone protection for structures and infrastructure.
First Creek Fire is actively spreading north and west in brush and timber, 8 miles northwest of Chelan on the South Shore. The fire is very active, with crowning and spotting. The fire continues to threaten residences along South Lake Shore Road, Lake Chelan State Park, First Creek Rd, and SR 971. Firefighters have conducted hand-firing operations and are working to provide structure protection from TwentyFive Mile Creek to Navarre Coulee, as well as assessing opportunities to control the fire perimeter at the north and south. The fire is near the Cove area on the northeast corner, remains north of First Creek, and has not reached Lake Chelan State Park.
Black Canyon and McFarland Creek fires are actively burning in timber, brush, and short grass approximately 8 miles west of Pateros, in Okanogan County. Fire behavior is extreme with significant crowning, group torching, flanking and spotting. The fire is in very steep terrain and firefighters are using direct and indirect tactics to limit fire growth and determining point protection locations.