Southeast Region-Department of Natural Resources
Ellensburg , WA 98926
July 19, 2020
The Bertschi Road Fire is burning south of Conboy Wildlife Refuge and north of Snowden Road, south of the town of Glenwood, WA. Ground reconnaissance and more accurate mapping has placed the total acres burned at 250. While fire lines have been established around most of the perimeter of the fire, not all fire lines are secure enough to contain the fire should they be tested by strong winds and advancing flames. Given the complexity of the terrain and swirly ridgetop winds, lines around the fires perimeter will need to meet a higher standard before considered contained. The fire remains at 65% containment. Total personnel currently resourced to the fire is 295.
Crews today will focus on completing direct line construction and improving established control lines, using dozers and hand crews. Also, crews will scout and develop drop points on the fire for hose and pump delivery. In some areas of the fire, mop up operations will begin. The fire has burned through heavy logging debris and a primary hazard to the firefighters includes the prevalence of ash pits, holes filled with ash possibly containing hot embers beneath the ground. Additional hazards include snakes and snags, and the potential ignition of unburned islands.
Our highest priority remains the safety of the public and all wildland fire personnel. Practical mitigation measures on the Bertschi Road Fire to support social distancing include: transitioning as many basecamp administrative functions as possible to virtual or telework status; designing smaller spike camps populated with fewer firefighters; following the CDC guidance on the use of facemasks in camp and elsewhere when social distancing cannot be achieved; and utilizing additional temporary facilities for crew quarters and staging for initial attack.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) remains in place over the fire. Drone flights are illegal in the fire area and compromise firefighting work.
A warming trend is forecast through Monday, before a dry cold front moves into the area, testing established containment lines. The public is reminded to be careful with any sparks and burning materials while engaging the outdoors. Those towing trailers are cautioned to shorten safety chains to prevent dragging and generating sparks. Be sure to check with your local fire agencies for burn restrictions and for forest and state closures.
The Washington Interagency Incident Management Team 10 would like to acknowledge the support and cooperation of the community of Glenwood, Glenwood School, Klickitat County fire districts and local fire districts, while firefighters work to contain the Bertschi Road Fire.