Norse Peak Fire Update, Aug. 15, 2017
Incident: Norse Peak Fire Wildfire
Lightning ignited 13 fires within the Naches Ranger District west of Yakima, Washington on August 11. Ten of these fires, all initially less than 15 acres, were in the William O. Douglas and Norse Peak Wildernesses approximately 50 miles northwest of Naches, Washington.
Slightly warmer temperatures on Monday resulted in increased fire activity on the fires north of State Route 410. Two previously separate fires in the Union Creek drainage merged and grew to one fire, named Norse Peak, which is now estimated to be approximately 500 acres. The increased size estimate reflects both fire movement and more accurate mapping. Another blaze near Crow Creek grew to 26 acres. South of SR 410, the fire near Pleasant Valley Lake on American Ridge reached 27 acres. All other fire starts covered less than five acres. Smoke production increased and resulted in some heavy concentrations downwind of the fires. Overall, fire behavior was within what fire managers had expected.
Today, a twenty-person hotshot crew was tasked with evaluating potential fire line locations further into the interior of the Norse Peak Wilderness. Other crews continued installing a system of hoses and sprinklers around the Union Creek Summer Homes and reinforcing existing fuel breaks where needed. The objective is to be fully prepared should one or more of the fires approach the summer homes and SR 410. Previously, homeowners took the initiative and participated in a Fire Wise project with the Yakima County Fire Marshall’s office to reduce fuels around their cabins for just such an event.
Evacuations: Effective noon on August 15, 2017, the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management issued a Level 2 evacuation notice for the Union Creek Summer Home Tract. This notice advises affected residents that a threat exists in their vicinity and they should be prepared to leave if the threat increases.
Closures: Public safety concerns have 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.
Information regarding these fires may be obtained during regular business hours at (509) 653-1468 and anytime on Inciweb (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5509/).