Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
215 Melody Lane
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Sunday, August. 13, 2017
Summary: A lightning storm Friday afternoon ignited 13 fires within the Naches Ranger District west of Yakima, Washington. Ten of the fires are in the William O. Douglas and Norse Peak Wildernesses. Three of the more accessible fires were contained Friday night.
A Sunday morning overflight indicated that fire activity was somewhat less than on Saturday; however, overall there was still enough heat remaining to produce visible smoke and continue steady, but slow fire growth. These fires will be fully suppressed; however, difficult access and firefighter safety concerns will likely deter immediate direct action. The strategy is to prevent these fires from coming down out of the Wilderness to SR 410 and threatening the structures and improvements adjacent to it.
Throughout the western United States very high fire activity has exhausted nearly all firefighting resources. Local fire managers believe the resources they currently have are sufficient to address the existing situation. As a precaution, fire crews are installing fire hoses and sprinklers around the Union Creek Recreation Residence Tract to be prepared in advance should fire threaten those structures. Previously, the cabin owners took the initiative and participated in a Fire Wise project with the Yakima County Fire Marshal’s Office to reduce fuels around their cabins for just such an event. All of the fires are still estimated to be a minimum of one mile from the exterior Wilderness boundaries and are not presenting an imminent threat to structures or resources outside wilderness.
Closures: Public safety concerns also prompted closures for the following trails: Union Creek Trail #956, Crow Lake Way Trail #953, Kettle Creek Trail #957, Pleasant Valley Lake Trail #958B, American Ridge Trail #958, Goose Prairie Trail #972 and Goat Creek Trail #959. These closures will remain in effect until it is determined safe for the public to re-enter these areas.
It is very likely smoke from some of these fires will be evident for the near future. Motorists travelling the section of SR 410 near the fires should be alert to reduced visibility due to smoke settling in the valley bottom, especially late at night and in the early morning. Should fire activity intensify to the point that threats to structures or other improvements escalate, fire managers will respond appropriately to address the threat.
Information regarding these fires may be obtained from the Naches Ranger District office during regular business hours at (509) 653-1468 and anytime on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website (https://www.fs.usda.gov/okawen/).