Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Saturday, August 12, 2017 – 7:05 p.m.
The latest in a series of Pacific Northwest thunderstorms moved through the central Washington Cascade Mountains on Friday afternoon. Lightning associated with the storm ignited 13 fires within the Naches Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest west of Yakima, Washington. Ten of the fires were within the William O. Douglas and Norse Peak Wilderness areas. Local Forest Service fire crews attacked and contained two fires near Rimrock Lake and one near Timber Wolf Mountain Friday night. The remaining fires were too remote to take action on Friday.
Saturday morning, fire managers used a helicopter to get a more detailed look at the 10 wilderness fires scattered over a 72-square-mile area approximately 62 miles northwest of Naches. Most of the fires were less than an acre in size, with one estimated at five acres, and the largest at 15 acres.
The area is characterized as steep, rugged terrain and varies from bare rock and sparse alpine vegetation to heavily forested slopes. The largest and most active fire, located along the North Fork of Union Creek, was burning within an area of dead standing trees and producing a clearly visible smoke column Saturday afternoon. All of the fires are estimated to be a minimum of one mile from the exterior Wilderness boundaries. None of the fires present an imminent threat to structures or resources outside wilderness.
Due to the inaccessible terrain and hazards to firefighter’s safety, fire management personnel will monitor the fires until more favorable conditions allow for a safer and more effective firefighting effort. In addition, closures have been instituted for the following trails: Union Creek Trail #956, Crow Creek Lake Way Trail #953, Kettle Creek Trail #957, Pleasant Valley Lake Trail #958B, American Ridge Trail #958, #972 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 traveling the section of SR 410 near the fires should be alert to reduced visibility due to smoke settling in the valley bottom late at night and in the early morning.
Information regarding these fires may be obtained during regular business hours at (509) 653-1468 or from the forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/okawen/.