Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
215 Melody Lane
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Norse Peak Fires Update
Thursday, August 31, 2017 – 9:00 a.m.
After painstaking consideration for public safety, fire managers have proposed closing Forest Road 1900 (aka: “Road 19” and “Little Naches”). An official forest order has been requested. Continued hot, dry conditions, significant fire spread potential, and lack of safe extraction routes for Forest visitors is prompting the proposed closure. Forest Service leaders and incident personnel will work to re-open this popular hunting and recreation area as soon as it is safe to do so. Crow Creek Campground is closed. Kaner Flat and Little Naches campgrounds remain open, as is the Little Naches Cabin Tract. There is no dispersed camping allowed in the area. An area closure south and west of Road 19 is also proposed. Law enforcement will be enforcing the closure.
A Level 1 evacuation notice is being recommended to the Yakima County Sheriff for the Little Naches area. A Level 1 evacuation means you need to “BE READY” for a potential evacuation. Be aware of the danger that exists in the area; monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. If you are in a campground and are unable to connect to the Internet or media outlets, look at the camp bulletin boards for information about the wildfire.
As of 6 a.m. the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is open from White Pass to Chinook Pass. The PCT remains closed from Chinook Pass to Government Meadow. Through-hikers avoiding the closure area should consider planning how to travel north of Government Meadow when they reach White Pass, as there is little cell phone connectivity at Chinook Pass. Hwy 410 is intermittently closed and the eastern access to Government Meadow (Road19) is closed. Other area closures on the Okanogan Wenatchee NF south of Hwy 410 are unchanged for now. Only trained firefighters working on the Norse Peak Fires are allowed in the fire area. For their own safety, hikers must avoid going into fire closure areas.
Beginning Friday, September 1, Hwy 410 will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. using a pilot car to guide drivers through the fire area. Firefighters will continue to work along the west side of the highway during this time. Drivers should be extra cautious. The highway will be fully open during the hours of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. travel through the fire area on Hwy 410 is open. Check Department of Transportation travel alerts at http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts/.
The Norse Peak Fire (13,637 acres) continued its northward movement yesterday, coming within a half mile of Raven Roost. A 700-acre fire that grew from a 5-acre spot fire on Tuesday afternoon to the northeast will likely merge with the Norse Peak today. Helicopters dropped buckets of water on other spot fires on the north side of Gold Hill ridge. Fire mangers plan to continue treating this area again today. Crews working along the Hwy 410 corridor were able to remove much of the felled dead trees and brush. This work continues throughout today and possibly into the weekend.
On the south side of Hwy 410 the American Fire (325 acres) continues backing downhill, making slow progression north. Crews are also making good progress removing brush and branches to improve a contingency fuel break along the Bumping River Road from Goose Prairie towards the Bumping Lake Dam.
Weather and anticipated fire behavior: A cold front that pushed through the fire last night will keep the cooler and moister weather over the area today. Meanwhile breezy west winds will continue, especially over exposed west-facing ridges. The cool and relatively moist weather will end Friday as a strong ridge builds over the area, resulting in significant warming and drying over the weekend.
Northwest Incident Management Team 13 is completing its time on the fire today. Management of the fire will be transitioning to the Florida Red Team today. They will take full command of management of the fire Friday morning.
Resources: 8 Type 2 crews; 19 engines; 2 dozers; 4 water tenders; 6 falling groups; 16 pieces of heavy equipment; 2 chippers; 2 helicopters.
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.