Cougar Creek Fire Update 8/25

Cougar Creek, Lost and Bannock Lakes Fires Saturday, August 25, 2018 Acreage: 41,324 Containment: 40 percent Personnel: 946

Level 2 Evacuations Lifted in Entiat Area There is a Chance of Rain in the Forecast

Cougar Creek Fire: Yesterday was a very productive day, and crews on the night shift continued that good work into night. The incident is staffed with 946 firefighters and support staff, including the Entiat and Prineville Interagency Hotshot crews. Hotshots are some of the most highly trained wildland fire crews available. Their skills have helped to make the complex burn operations executed on the Cougar Creek Fire successful.

Yesterday crews advanced burn operations along the western perimeter to protect private property in Plain and the Chiwawa Pines area. Using drip torches, firefighters applied a mixture of diesel and gasoline to ground fuels. A burning wick ignites the fuel mixture as it leaves the torch. This is referred to as “putting fire on the ground,” it lights ground fuels that burn toward the main fire front. Where larger areas needed to be ignited, a specially trained firefighter operating a Plastic Sphere Dispenser (PSD) was flown inside the fire perimeter by helicopter. The PSD performs aerial ignition by ejecting plastic spheres, often referred to as “Ping-Pong” balls. The balls contain potassium, as they leave the machine, the PSD injects glycol into each one, triggering a chemical reaction. The ball falls to the ground, and in a few seconds, it ignites creating a sustained flame which burns for about two minutes, lighting ground fuels.

Aerial ignition is a complex operation. The helicopter must fly close to the ground at a low rate of speed. Meanwhile, the firefighter operating the PSD must carefully calculate the distance to the ground and speed of the helicopter to ensure that the correct number of spheres are dropped. Too few and the burn will be spotty and inefficient, too many and the fire will burn more intensely than desired, damaging mature trees.

Results from last night’s infrared flight indicate only scattered heat on the southern and eastern sides of the fire. Crews will continue to mop-up and monitor the fire-line. Assessment of structures in the communities of Chiwawa Pines, Shugart Flats and Plain will continue. Assessment of structures in the upper Entiat River Valley will be completed today.

Higher relative humidity and lower temperatures moderated fire behavior on Cougar Creek. Growth was modest. The fire is currently 41,324 acres. Much of the increase in acreage is attributed to burning operations along the perimeter.

Lost Fire: The Lost Fire remains at 80 acres. It is unstaffed and is monitored by air using Distributed Real-Time Infrared (DRTI) and air attack aircraft.

Bannock Lakes Fire: This lightning-caused fire is approximately 17 miles west of Stehekin in the Glacier Peaks Wilderness and is 476 acres in size. The fire is burning among large rocky outcroppings and isolated clusters of timber in steep, inaccessible terrain. It is being monitored by air and satellite. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) is closed from Suiattle Pass to High Bridge. The PCT detour is from Suiattle Pass to Stehekin. More information and a map is available at

Weather and Fire Behavior: Today’s high temperature will be 66 to 72 degrees at 1,500 feet and in the 50s higher up. Relative humidity will be 40 to 45 percent. Winds will be light, 3 to 6 miles per hour at 1,500 feet and 8 to 12 miles per hour at the ridge tops. A weather front will drift into the area tonight, bringing a slight chance for precipitation on Sunday. These will be near ideal conditions for fire suppression. Increased moisture will moderate fire behavior creating more opportunities for firefighters to extend and secure containment lines.

Traffic Safety: There is increased traffic in Leavenworth and Plain due to fire resources accessing the west side of the fire. Extra caution and slower speeds are advised.

Cougar Creek Fire Evacuation Levels: Plains Area: Chelan County implemented Level 2 (GET SET) evacuation notifications for the Chiwawa Loop Road from Plain to the intersection with Chiwawa River Road, on both sides of the roadway. This includes Chiwawa River Pine Community, Shugart Flats Community, and all roads that intersect with the Chiwawa Loop Road. The community of Plain will remain at a Level 1.

Entiat Area: That portion of the Mad River Road below the fire area, to the Entiat River Road, and the Entiat River Road from the intersection of the Mad River Road, north to Mile Marker 16.5 is no longer under an evacuation order. The Entiat River Road from Mile Marker 16.5, north to its end is now under a Level 1 Evacuation Alert. The 25 mile per hour speed restriction has been rescinded. For more information, call the Chelan County Emergency Management at 509-667-6863, or visit their Facebook page at An American Red Cross shelter, at 14916 US 97A in Entiat, is on standby. The Red Cross can be contacted at 509-663-3907.

Smoke: Smoke continues to be a major concern to local communities. Individuals with respiratory problems are encouraged to acquire N95 masks. These masks are available at local fire stations, provided by the Chelan County Sheriff's Office. For more information on smoke and public health, go to or (Spanish). While smoke remains an obstacle for firefighting, air resources are poised to respond should visibility clear enough for safe operations.

U.S. Forest Service Closure Orders: · Cougar Creek and Lost Fires: · Bannock Lakes Fire: · Whitepine Fire: · Area businesses are open. Please consider showing your support by shopping in the local community.

Incident Management Team: Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 3 (Type 1) continues to work closely with cooperators from the US Forest Service, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Entiat Rural Fire District 8, Chelan County Fire District 3, Peshastin Rural District 6, Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue, Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, Chelan County Department of Emergency Management, Chelan County Public Utility Dept., Washington Department of Transportation, American Red Cross, Chelan Public Schools, and Chelan Public Works. 19 Firefighters from Australia are supporting the fire.

Fire Information: Phone: 509-664-9210 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) Email: Inciweb: Facebook: #WaWildfire #CougarCreekFire Interactive Map: - END –



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