Jeff Pendleton, Incident Commander for the Wenatchee Fire Complex, told firefighters “we have been developing plans as we have been fighting fire. One missing key element has been the right mix of resources. We have a good plan and now we have the force to implement that plan. We have a force of over 1800 firefighters, crews, engines, and aviation assets. It is time to engage the plan and make our efforts leap forward.”
A combination of factors continue to challenge the firefighting effort: Smoky conditions have caused limited visibility, dangerous burning and/or standing dead trees, steep terrain, rolling logs and rocks, plus extremely dry vegetation all contribute to fire fighting dangers.
The high pressure weather system sitting on top of the Wenatchee Valley will bring inversions in the morning and cause winds to be terrain driven. The worst air quality will be in the late night and morning hours because the smoke gets trapped near the ground during morning temperature inversions. This weather pattern is expected to continue through the week.
Last night the fire made good use of the swing shift fire fighting personnel to conduct burning operations into the evening The burning operations went well and accomplished the mission.
The public is asked to use caution in and around Entiat where over 600 firefighters are based at the Entiat City Park; vehicles will be entering and exiting Highway 97A.
The Canyon Fire, directly west of Wenatchee, is 50% contained. Evacuation levels have been modified; Number 1 Canyon is at a level 1 and Number 2 Canyon from above the gun club to the end of the road and Stiss Canyon is a level 2. Today, crews mopped up 250 feet into the perimeter of the fire. A strike team of engines will patrol through the night, watching for any unexpected fire activity. The tremendous amount of resources utilized during the beginning of this fire has paid off with no loss of structures or injuries. The Canyon Fire is approximately 7,575 acres.
The Byrd Canyon Fire, located just north of Entiat, is also in patrol status. It is 45% contained and approximately 13,978 acres in size. Resources are being transitioned to other fires in the area as they complete their assignments.
The First Creek Fire, located 10 miles west of Lake Chelan, is approximately 1,242 acres. It is burning in very difficult and steep terrain. Helicopters are supporting a burn out operation and firefighters on the ground. Scouting and construction of contingency lines and structure protection is also planned in First Creek and Granite Falls Creek. A Level 3 evacuation remains in place for First Creek and Granite Falls Creek. This fire is 20% contained.
The Pyramid (413 acres) and Klone Fire, (656 acres) north of Entiat are burning in timber that was severely impacted by disease and insects. Crews on the Klone fire will continue to work with local resource advisors to minimize impact to sensitive and/or threatened resources in the area. Firefighters are protecting thirty seven recreation cabins by clearing vegetation, wrapping fire protective material around the base of the cabins and installing sprinklers on or near the cabins. Fire line improvements along Entiat Road, County Road 19 will continue.
The Incident Management Team would like to express appreciation to the community for your support and help in our efforts to suppress these fires. It is vital that the community cooperate with evacuations, road closures, and avoiding areas of high traffic for fire suppression.