Southeast Region-Department of Natural Resources
Ellensburg , WA 98926
Incident Summary: The 243 Command Fire started on Monday night, June 3, near Highway 243 and Wanapum Dam. The winds pushed the fire easterly through the Lower Crab Creek Canyon. The fire crews were able to contain it between the canyon’s northern and southern ridges. It is presently 85% contained with 20,380 acres burned. The cause is still under investigation.
The fire has been handled by the Southeast Washington Interagency Type 3 Team 3, Tony Gilmer is the Incident Commander.
Fire’s Summary: Early the fire was pushed by strong winds from the west. As it was running to the east, air was pushed up and out to its sides. On the south side of the canyon, the fire tried to cross the road and run up the ridge. Crews made sure that fire did not cross that road. The north side of the canyon is sheer vertical with draws. Crews fought to keep the fire from running up these draws. Over the first few days the fire moved east, running and spotting ahead of the flame front. By Wednesday evening, the fire for the most part, had run its course. The majority of the time Thursday and today, crews were widening the perimeter, rehabbing, and working on hot spots.
Even though the majority of the fire is out and the air has cleared, small spots of heat still remain and will remain until a heavy rainfall. The plan is to have the fire’s footprint surrounded by a wide, cool outer ring, with no burnable material. Inside this perimeter, the fire’s footprint may still have some spots of heat.
Personnel remaining will monitor the fire and keep it within its current footprint until it can be returned to the local unit.
Final Plans: The mop up and rehab operation will be continued by a small taskforce, Saturday. The Incident Command Post (ICP) will be disbanded and most of the personnel will be going home. Some fire personnel have already gone home. Saturday, the fire will be handed off to a smaller team and eventually back to the local units.
Suggestions to the Public: It is the beginning of the Fire Season, firewise.org, is an excellent website to learn about how to prepare your home for wildfires. Important tips and suggestions are also available on that site. When recreating away from home and you want to know what is happening in the area, log into the local fire departments, sheriff’s departments, and state and federal agencies’ web sites, for recommendations, warnings, etc.
Evacuation Levels Explained: Level 1—Get Ready; Level 2—Set; Level 3—Go. Are You Prepared? Everybody should understand Level 1. Get important papers, valuables, photos, memorabilia, prescription medication, pet carrier, etc. organized so that you know where things are and can grab them at a moments notice
Team 3 greatly appreciates all of the cooperation from Grant County Fire District 10 (Royal Slope), the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, and the Royal City Area community. All were valuable to the team’s success.