Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
215 Melody Lane
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Firefighters have been consistently diligent in their preparations each day they have worked on the Norse Peak Fires, strengthening containment lines; putting in contingency lines, hoselays, sprinklers; and protecting structures. Today is a critical day on the fires and those preparations may be put to the test as extreme dry and hot weather have cured and heated fuels, making them ready to burn. Today’s temperatures are expected to be in the upper 80s and 90s, with extremely low relative humidity. Today is day 76 without rain.
“We are in a good place because of all of your hard work,” Dean Warner, fire behavior analyst, told firefighters during the morning briefing.
Sunday’s Accomplishments: The Norse Peak Fire (2,222 acres) progressed eastward toward Survey Creek, but helicopters dropping water on the fire kept it on the west side of the creek. The Union Creek Fire (355 acres) to the west of the Norse Peak Fire continues to push down against Union Creek but was kept north of the creek using water drops to reduce the fire intensity. The American Fire (222 acres) continued its slow progression down hill towards the American River and Hwy 410. Fire 367 is 62 acres and Fire 351 is still considered less than 5 acres.
The eight Smoke Jumpers that had made their way to Fire 351, south of the American Fire, were able to put lines around that fire and check a smaller fire nearby. Both fires are currently showing little signs of activity, no smoke, and are considered contained. The eight jumpers were extracted with helicopters and demobilized on the completion of their mission.
Firefighters continued throughout Sunday removing felled hazardous trees and brush from Hwy 410, completing work on the eastern end of the highway closure. They also removed brush and branches around the Goose Prairie community to create a firebreak in an area where mitigation work had been done years ago as part of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan project.
Resources: One Type 1 crew; 9 Type 2 crews; 19 engines; 2 dozers; 2 water tenders, 6 falling groups; 16 pieces of heavy equipment; 2 chippers; 2 helicopters.
Hwy 410: The nighttime opening of Hwy 410 continues. Vehicles are able to move through the fire area from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Hwy 410 east of Chinook Pass (mile post 69) and west of Hell’s Crossing (mile post 84) remains closed during daytime. This will continue through Thursday, at least. Check Dept of Transportation travel alerts at http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts/.
Weather Forecast: An upper level ridge will combine with a thermal trough over the fire today resulting in the hottest and driest conditions over this area in the last three weeks. The winds will remain light and terrain driven throughout most of the day. The weather is expected to get slightly cooler starting Tuesday with breezy conditions for Wednesday and Thursday.
All Closures, Restrictions and Evacuations remain in effect: For more details and maps visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5509/. Recreational cabins at Union Creek and Pleasant Valley, and the Lodgepole and Pleasant Valley campgrounds, remain closed under Level 3 Evacuation Notification. A broad area of National Forest around the fires, including many trails, is closed. Other recreational facilities including campgrounds and businesses at Goose Prairie and Bumping Lake, under Level 1 Notification, remain open.
Wildfire season in Washington may continue several more weeks. Everyone living and recreating in fire prone areas can take small steps to make a big difference for the safety of you, your property, and firefighters. Walk around your home and yard, and move flammable materials away from structures. Considering watering dry vegetation, raking pine needles and leaves away from structures, trees, and propane tanks. Move firewood at least 30 feet from any structures. Visit www.fireadaptedyakima.org for checklists to help you be prepared before, during, and after a fire.