Fire Update for August 2, 2018

Cascade weed 2

Informational Fire Meeting Monday
August 6 at 6 p.m.
Chelan Fire Hall

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Chelan has had a number of fire starts this season. Fortunately, air attack has been immediate and helpful in controlling these fires quickly.

August 2 Fire Related news:

by Richard Uhlhorn

Cougar Creek Fire (Entiat Valley)

The Cougar Creek Fire 25 miles up the Entiat Valley spread on all flanks yesterday, ranging from ¼ mile to 1 mile. It will continue to send smoke into the Lake Chelan Valley for the rest of the summer. The potential exists for significant fire spread and long range spotting when smoke columns develop.

This fire was lightning caused and is burning in old slash, downed trees and forest lands in the Cougar Creek drainage. It is Zero percent contained and the U.S. Forest Service does not expect any containment until September 15.

Currently 321 fire personnel on are assigned to the fire and nine crews are working on it. There are two helicopters and 15 engines deployed to help.

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The Chelan Hills (Beebe) Fire in Douglas County had immediate air support for fire agencies fighting this fast moving brush fire. 

Chelan Hills (Beebe) Fire (Douglas County)

The cause of this fire, which began on July 27 by Highway 97, is under investigation. It burned 1842 acres and is expected to be fully contained today, August 2. There were four damaged structures including one lost residence.

Engine crews are patrolling the fire perimeter, extinguishing hotspots and performing rehabilitation tasks in the burned areas and along the fire lines.

Tanker support was instrumental in containing the Chelan Hill’s (Beebe) Fire to an estimated 1800 acres and saving a number of homes in the Farnham Canyon area.

Residents in Farnham Canyon are extremely worried about the potential for mudslides and erosion issues. The roads are all private. Larry Majchrzak, whose home was saved by a retardant drop, called and asked what resources are available to help home owners who find themselves with no vegetation left to hold water.

Cascadia Conservation District is probably the best resource available for people looking for help with conservation issues.

Navarre Coulee Fire

No current information is available.

Arson or Stupid

_MG_6773 - Sheriff Burnett

Sheriff Brian Burnett reported that the Department does not feel at this time that a serial arsonist is at work in the Lake Chelan Valley. “I will get back to you if I hear differently,” said Burnett.

There has been a lot of talk going around about fire starts in the Lake Chelan Valley. A lot of that talk is centered around the potential that a serial arsonist is at work, especially considering that many of the fires have been on the south shore. The Chelan Hills Spring (Beebe) fire is also considered suspicious and is under active investigation.

“I know there has been a lot of talk,” said Fire Chief Arnold Baker from Manson Fire District 5. “We are all thinking about that.” He stated that the 25 Mile Creek Fire had a plausible explanation. “It started in the garbage dump and we think someone put hot charcoal briquettes in the dumpster. Pretty stupid for not putting the fire out,” he said. “The other ones don’t have an explanation. We all have to pay attention. We need the public to pay attention.”

Baker stated that if you see a car pulled over on dry grass, take a picture with your phone. If something develops, at least there is a photo with a license number so the individual can be questioned. “We need the public’s help. Law enforcement and the fire services aren’t going to catch them without the public’s help.”

Sheriff Brian Burnett talked with his staff and said that none of them are feeling like there is a serial arsonist at work. “We had one potential suspect, but after questioning him, he was released.”

The primary thing for Valley residents is to be vigilant and if something is unusual, to report it to the Sheriff’s Department.

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Four Fire Boss aircraft helped dump gallons and gallons of water on fire lines on the Chelan Hills (Beebe) Fire. (File Photo from 2016)

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Helicopters remain an important fire fighting asset
in the area when fire breaks out.

Northwest Fire Potential continues at a record high

Record level fire danger continues in the Northwest with gusty winds keeping our area at an elevated risk level for development of significant fire.

Wildland fire managers at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise Idaho are mobilizing firefighters from Australia and New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand have been good partners with the United States and the last time they were mobilized was during the 2015 Chelan Complex fires.

 

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