Norse Peak Fire Update, Aug. 18, 2017 9:00 AM
Incident: Norse Peak Fire Wildfire
Friday, August 18, 2017 – 9:00 a.m.
Summary: Thirteen fires were ignited by lightning on August 11, in the vicinity of the William O. Douglas and Norse Peak Wilderness Areas on the Naches Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The fires are burning in steep rocky terrain, with difficult access. Most of them are showing no signs of growth. Two of the fires have reached significant size and remain active: the Norse Peak Fire (currently approximately 1200 acres, burning north of State Route 410 (SR410) near Union Creek) and the American Ridge Fire (currently approximately 70 acres, burning between SR410 and Bumping Lake). These fires are all being managed collectively as “Norse Peak.” Resources are being shared between the fires. Separate information will be provided when useful.
Yesterday: Following a day of very active fire behavior, the Norse Peak Fire returned to more moderate burning on Thursday. A helicopter assisted by dropping buckets of water to check fire growth. Fire crews have been cutting hazardous trees along a trail that parallels the north side of SR410. They plan to use the trail as a containment line, possibly in conjunction with a burn-out operation. The fire edge is still nearly a quarter mile north of the nearest structures at Union Creek. These cabins have been protected by clearing nearby vegetation and flammable objects and by setting up fire hoses and large sprinklers to continuously keep the structures wet.
The American Ridge Fire is burning in the Kettle Creek drainage, north of American Ridge approximately 5 miles from the nearest improvements at Goose Prairie and Bumping Lake. At 7:00 a.m. this morning, the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management issued a Level 1 “Be Ready” evacuation notice for the Bumping Lake Marina, campgrounds and residences; Goose Prairie residences; and Camp Fife. This “Be Ready” notification warns there is a projected threat in the area, encouraging awareness, mindfulness and planning. Level 1 is not a recommendation to leave.
Evacuations: Level 3 “Go” evacuation notification remains in effect for the Union Creek (6 cabins) and Pleasant Valley (7 cabins) Summer Home Tracts. During a Level 3 status, it is recommended that residents leave the area. The Timber Creek Tract is also closed to access because SR410 is closed. Likewise, Pleasant Valley and Lodgepole campgrounds are closed.
Area Closure: In order to protect public safety, National Forest officials have prohibited anyone except firefighters from entering or being on any trail for a large area of National Forest land around the fires. Details of the closure and a map are available at the Naches Ranger District, in the Norse Peak Fire inciweb page, and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website (https://www.fs.usda.gov/okawen/).
SR410 remains closed from Chinook Pass (mile post 69) to Hell’s Crossing (mile post 84). Travel alerts are posted on the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) website (http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts/). This closure is likely to extend over several days as the highway corridor is being cleared of snags and protected from fire movement.
Today: The emphasis today is to fall hazardous trees and establish containment lines along the south perimeter of the Norse Peak Fire. There are 189 personnel (1 Type 1 crew; 4 Type 2 crews, 4 engines and 2 helicopters) currently working on these fires. A Type 2 incident management team, NW IMT #13, led by Incident Commander Brian Gales, has taken over management of these Fires in order to address the growing size and complexity of this incident. Warming temperatures and gusty winds are likely to support active fire behavior into the weekend.