Cougar Creek, Bannock Lake, and Whitepine Fires Monday, August 6, 2018
Size: 4154 acres Personnel: 677 Location: 20 miles northwest of Entiat Start Date: July 28, 2018 Cause: Lightning
Current Activity: A community meeting was held last night at the Entiat fire station. Approximately 100 people were in attendance with another 108 streaming live on Facebook. Personnel from California Interagency Incident Management Team 5, Chelan County fire district no. 8, Department of Natural Resources, and the US Forest Service reported on the fire’s progress and answered questions.
The Cougar Creek fire is active in thick dead and down timber. It is creeping and backing down steep rugged terrain. Although there was very little fire growth yesterday, the vegetation in the fire’s interior continues to burn. The north and west sides of the fire are relatively stable. The east side is holding west of Tyee Ridge. The spot fires on the east and south side are being worked so that existing roads and trails can be used to establish a continuous perimeter around the fire.
Firefighters yesterday were able to take advantage of the calmer weather to attack the fire more directly, resulting in a number of accomplishments. These included: Installing sprinklers and portable pumps in the Entiat Valley to protect residences. Reducing the fuel load by removing brush and dead timber using hand crews and heavy equipment, such as masticators, near residences in the Entiat Valley and Plain. Connecting containment lines using hand crews and dozers and old forest roads, keeping spot fires on the east and southeast section of the fire in check, (including putting a line around one). Using fire to burn vegetation along the south and southeast sections of the fire perimeter. Firing operations are an important tool in fire suppression because the main fire burns into the black, reducing its intensity. Although firing operations can generate additional smoke, it’s usually for a short duration.
A new fire—called the Lost Fire—was reported yesterday afternoon four miles northwest of Maverick Peak and nine miles north of Plain. It is less than 50 acres and most likely started from lightening several days ago. Yesterday, firefighters conducted initial attack and air tankers dropped retardant around it. Today, sixteen smokejumpers will assess the fire, take suppression action if safe to do so, and provide intelligence to fire managers to develop a strategy.
Firefighters and air operations will again take advantage of today’s weather to continue the progress made yesterday through a more aggressive attack on the fire. This is important because hot, dry and possible windy conditions are expected by the end of the week.
Evacuations: The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office reduced Entiat Valley Level 3 evacuations to Level 2 yesterday. Level 2 evacuations are in effect from Mad River Road north to mile post 24.5. The immediate threat to residents in the area has decreased, but there is enough of a fire presence to maintain Level 2. Be aware that fire conditions can change quickly and necessitate Level 3 restrictions being reinstated. North of the Level 2 evacuations (mile post 24.5) Forest Service campgrounds remain closed and the Forest closure order remains in effect. Visit https://bit.ly/2Mkk2lX for more information.
For the most current announcements, visit Chelan County Emergency Management Facebook site (www.facebook.com/CCSOEM/).
Smoke: Smoke from fires in California and Oregon has drifted into the region. Smoke from the new Lost Fire is visible to residents near Plain. The Cougar Creek Fire is also generating smoke visible from many surrounding communities. N95 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 www.wasmoke.blogspot.com or https://bit.ly/2J22754 (Spanish).
Closures: The US Forest Service lands, roads, and trails are closed within Forest Roads 5700, 5200, 6101, 5800, and 5605. Campgrounds accessed via the Entiat River Road north of Potato Creek are also closed. For additional information on this closure go to https://bit.ly/2AI9BqW. Bannock Lakes and Whitepine Fires: Both lightning-caused fires are less than 50 acres in steep, inaccessible terrain, and are being monitored daily by air. The Bannock Lakes Fire is approximately 17 miles west of Stehekin in the Glacier Peaks Wilderness. The Whitepine Fire is approximately 3 miles south of Stevens Pass Nordic Center and 19 miles northwest of Leavenworth in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Bannock Lakes Closures: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Inte…/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd589950.pdf White Pine Closures: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Inte…/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd590413.pdf