Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
215 Melody Lane
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Norse Peak Fires Update. Saturday August 19, 2017 - 9:00 a.m.
Norse Peak Fire: 1250 acres.
American Ridge Fire: 150 acres.
Friday’s accomplishments: Firefighters focused on two priority areas around the Norse Peak Fire on Friday. On the west end of the fire, the priority was securing the area around the six cabins in the Union Creek Tract. Firing operations were utilized to create defensible space around the structures. The other priority was improving safety along the closed portion of Highway 410. A mechanical feller-buncher was used to remove standing dead trees where firefighters need to work. Once these hazards are removed, firefighters will be able to carefully burn the area between the main fire and the road, to create a more secure containment line.
Late in the afternoon, several small spot fires occurred south of the main Norse Peak fire. Crews were able to put lines around them and stop the spread of these spot fires, keeping them to approximately 20 feet in diameter. Checking the spots and carefully searching around them for any additional spots is the first priority Saturday morning.
While these priority areas were addressed, other fire line personnel focused on identifying effective containment strategies. They determined that the rocky and sparsely vegetated north edge of the Norse Peak Fire may be a natural barrier to fire spread. Resources will initially be concentrated on the other parts of the fire, where there are more values at risk.
Friday morning, residents and visitors to the Bumping Lake area, Goose Prairie, and Camp Fife were officially notified to be aware of the fire in the area, with a Level 1 Evacuation Notification. This is a precautionary notice, so people can think about what they would do if an evacuation were needed. Staff and volunteers for the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management are stationed on Bumping Lake Road to notify visitors about the evacuation levels. This notification is related to the American Ridge Fire, which is now estimated at 150 acres. This fire is over 3 miles north of the popular camping and visitor services along Bumping Lake Road, and the slow fire spread has been to the north, toward Highway 410. The intent of a Level 1 Notification is to help people prepare themselves mentally for what they would need to do and take if an evacuation became necessary. It is still safe to be in the area, and people do not have to leave during a Level 1 notification.
Air quality in central Washington was better Friday that it has been over the last several weeks. For people sensitive to smoke impacts, www.wasmoke.blogspot.com is an excellent resource to learn about recorded air conditions and appropriate safety steps to reduce exposure when smoke is heavier.
Today: The emphasis today is to fall hazardous trees and establish containment lines along the south perimeter of the Norse Peak Fire. A structure protection group will assess the residences and other improvements along the Bumping Lake Road to see if work needs to be done to mitigate risks. There are 201 personnel (1 Type 1 crew; 5 Type 2 crews, 4 engines and 2 helicopters) currently working on these fires.
Closures and Restrictions: (Full details and maps available on https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5509/)
All campfires are now prohibited on National Forest lands within the Naches Ranger District.
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.
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 firing operations are being conducted.
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 evacuation, it is recommended that residents leave the area. The Timber Creek Tract is closed because SR410 is closed; it is not threatened at this time.
Pleasant Valley and Lodgepole campgrounds are closed.