KPQ News

Forest Closures Expanded

Posted Thursday 8/27/15 5:08 pm from US Forest Service news release
Lake Wenatchee--Severe fire hazard has prompted the Forest Service to close all National Forest lands north of Highway 2 on the Wenatchee River Ranger District to public entry.
            “This is not a decision that has been taken lightly,” said District Ranger Jeff Rivera.  “Our primary concern is for public and fire fighter safety.”  The closure will be lifted as soon as the unusual wildfire threat is abated, but rainfall predicted for this weekend probably will not be enough to end that threat, he said.
            The decision notice signed by Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest Supervisor Mike Williams is effective immediately. The forest closure includes all National Forest System lands on the Wenatchee River Ranger District north of Highway 2 except the higher elevation Pacific Crest Trail.
            The closure is prompted by the expansion of the Wolverine wildfire on the Entiat Ranger District just north of the Wenatchee River district, Rivera said.  “That fire has not crossed the Entiat ridge, but I want to be prepared.”
            “This closure is necessary because fire-fighting resources are stretched so thin we can’t stand the risk of additional human caused fires in the area,” Rivera said.   Extended drought and extreme weather conditions have led to major wildfires in eastern Washington and throughout the west, he noted.
National Forest lands on the Wenatchee River District south of Highway 2 remain open at this time.  “Businesses in the town of Leavenworth are still open and, so far, the air in this community has been remarkably free of smoke considering all the fires that are burning in eastern Washington,” Rivera said.  
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Crews Making Progress on Okanogan Complex Fire

Posted 8/28/15 Friday 9:54 am
The largest wildfire in Washington state history grew by more than 22 square miles overnight, and firefighters are worried about high winds predicted for this weekend.
   The Okanogan Complex of wildfires was listed at over 300-thousand acres (472 square miles) this (Friday) morning, after windy conditions Thursday pushed the fire on a couple of runs. It is only 12 percent contained.
Fire spokeswoman, Lisa Machnik (MAK-nik) says crews will be working on all four corners of the fire today  . .
Temperatures are lower and humidity higher today and some light sprinkles were reported, which is good news for firefighters. But thunderstorms with high winds predicted for this weekend could fan the flames
   Officials say the fire has destroyed at least 45 primary residences, 49 cabins and 60 outbuildings. Three firefighters died battling the fire last week, and a memorial service for them is planned for Sunday in Wenatchee at the Town Toyota Center. You can hear it live on News Radio 560 KPQ.
Posted 8/26/15 Wednesday 10:19 an
The Wenatchee Valley College at Omak campus remains closed today. The campus has been closed since last Thursday, Aug. 20. 
If air quality remains at the hazardous level for the remainder of this week, they expect to keep the campus closed. 
Students and employees should check the WVC website ( and Facebook page for updated information.
Summer quarter classes ended Tuesday, Aug. 18. Fall quarter classes begin Monday, Sept. 21.
Posted 8/26/15 Wednesday 10:15 am
The air battle resumed yesterday afternoon in Okanogan County after the smoke inversion lifted allowing helicopters and air tankers to do their job.
Okanogan Complex Fire spokesman, Rick Isaacson . . 
Isaacson says the mood was upbeat this morning at base camp after crews reportedly made significant progress . . 
Isaacson says there is a chance of rain this weekend but thunderstorms forecast ahead of the rain could be a problem in terms of new fire starts.
The fire has consumed over 288-thousand acres and the complex of fires is 15 percent contained.
Posted Tue 8/25/15
Okanogan Complex Fire managers report 15 percent containment but they stress that the fire continues to spread and more homes are threatened.
Fire spokesman, Rick Isaacson says scores of homes in the Aeneas Valley area outside of Wauconda are threatened . . 
Additional resources including more boots on the ground as crews are being moved from Chelan County to the Okanogan.
Isaacson says the thick smoke that shrouds the area has reduced visibility to the point that fire-retardant air tankers have been grounded. 
He reports that crews have made progress on the Twisp River Fire with new lines built in the area where three firefighters were killed last week.
The Okanogan Complex Fire has so far spread to over 256-thousand acres but that number and the number of homes lost is expected to grow over the next few days.
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Back Burning Generates Big Smoke Plume On Chelan Complex Fire

Posted Friday 8/28/15 9:03 am
Good news from base camp at the Chelan Complex Fire. 
Fire spokesman, Rico Smith says fire crews concentrated their containment efforts in the Upper Entiat Valley where the Wolverine Fire continues its advance. 
Yesterday the area above the small community of Brief was placed under a level one evac precaution . . 
The Chelan Complex Fire is also remains active in the First Creek area. He said back-burning operations kicked up a lot of smoke yesterday generating large columns to the North of Wenatchee.
The Chelan Complex Fire is now 47 percent contained with over 90-acres burned and the confirmed loss of 51 homes.
Posted Thursday 8/27/15 7:00 am
Wednesday afternoon was a busy day for firefighters on several fronts in Chelan County. 
The South Shore of Lake Chelan in the First Creek area continues to be a problem in terms of threat to lakeside cabins in the area.
The north end of the fire continued to be extremely active  prompting structure protection near 25 mile Creek.
Rich Magnussen with Chelan County Emergency Management says deputies continue to escort residents into the First Creekarea . . 
The Wolverine Fire also presents new challenges as it continues to creep down the Entiat River Drainage toward Silver Falls. 
Magnussen described the fire's advance . . .  
Residents in the Brief area are now under a precautionary level one advisory. 
 A spike camp has been established at the Entiat Park to accommodate crews working the southern perimeter of the fire. 
As a precautionary measure, the Wenatchee River Ranger District has closed access to the Chiwawa Valley, west of the Entiat River. The fire is currently 15 miles north of Plain.
Posted Wednesday 8/26/15 10:11 am
The Chelan Complex Fire was active on several fronts with the Wolverine fire continuing its slow advance down the Upper Entiat Valley yesterday.
The Southern flank of the fire reached the Cottonwood Campground last night but there are no reports of structure loss after crews wrapped several cabins and a Forest Service guard shack with foil- like material as a protection.
Fire spokeswoman, Lisa Romano says crews are also working the edge of the fire that threatens the Chiwawa Creek drainage west the Entiat River . . 
Romano says the First Creek area along Chelan's South lakeshore was extremely active with growth toward 25 mile Creek . . 
The Chelan Complex fire is 40 percent contained with close to 90-thousand acres burned and 51 home destroyed.
Posted Wednesday 8/26/15 From Tuesday briefing report on INCIWEB
Wolverine: The north side of the fire was active along Castle Creek, near Stehekin, yesterday and helicopter water drops were used to hold the fire in check. The southern flank of the fire continued to grow into the Entiat drainage, with extreme fire behavior in Garland and Snow Brushy Creeks. Work continues on constructing an indirect line along Tommy Creek as well as implementing structure protection in the Silver Falls area. As a precautionary measure, the Wenatchee River Ranger District has closed access to the Chiwawa Valley, west of the Entiat River. The fire is approximately five miles east of the Chiwawa Valley. Crews will continue to mop up hot spots and construct contingency lines.
Posted 8/25/15 Tuesday
No doubt If you live in the Entiat Valley, you're getting a little anxious about the containment efforts on the Wolverine Fire which appears to be spreading.
Chelan County Commissioner Doug England shares your concern. .
You can expect to see fire crews working in the area of Cottonwood Campground where several cabins and a US Forest Service guard station are being protected.
Commissioner England says there are fewer firefighters battling the fires in Chelan County . . 
Meanwhile, Commissioners have taken action to close all county roads that access US Forest Service lands. Keith Goehner says level three closures are now in effect for roads leading into the Entiat and Wenatchee River Ranger Districts. 
The Chelan Complex Fire has burned over 80-thousand acres and is 40 percent contained. Its also confirmed that 51 homes have been destroyed, 
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Wenatchee Humane Society Receives Donation for Fire-Impacted Companion Animal Owners

Posted Friday 8/28/15 10:27 am
(August 28, 2015) – The Wenatchee Valley Humane Society is receiving a $5,000 donation for companion animal owners who are displaced as a result of the wildfires throughout Chelen and the surrounding counties. The $5,000 donation from The Humane Society of the United States will be used to assist with costs associated with care and sheltering of companion animals and owners affected by the wildfires.
The wildfires throughout the state are the largest in Washington’s history and have destroyed more than 200 homes, displacing hundreds of families and their companion animals.
The best way to keep people and animals safe when disaster strikes is to have a good disaster plan. Learn more here.
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Mariners Fire GM Zduriencik

Posted Friday 8/28/15 Friday 10:08 am
CHICAGO, Ill.– Seattle Mariners President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Mather announced this morning that EVP of Baseball Operations & General Manager Jack Zduriencik has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately.
Jeff Kingston, who has been the Mariners Assistant General Manager since 2009, will handle the GM responsibilities for the remainder of the 2015 regular season.
Mather said, “We have reached the point when change of leadership of our baseball operations is needed for the Seattle Mariners to reach our goal of winning championships. We are very disappointed with the results this season, and are not satisfied with the current operation. The search for a permanent general manager will begin immediately, and while there is no deadline, we expect to have a new GM in place as soon as practical.” 
Mather added, “We have great respect for Jack and his work ethic. He was an excellent representative of the Mariners both within the game of baseball and in the community. On behalf of the entire organization, I wish him and (his wife) Debbie all the best, and thank him for all his efforts.”
Mariners Chief Executive Officer Howard Lincoln said, “On behalf of our ownership group, I want to thank Jack for his loyalty and hard work over the years, and for the quiet dignity with which he has carried himselfDuring his tenure, Jack was dedicated to building a winning team, and at the same time, has embodied the Mariners commitment to the community by supporting many charities and causes, and making a difference in our community. We wish Jack and his lovely wife Debbie all the best.”
Zduriencik was in his seventh season as head of the Mariners baseball operations after being named to the position on October 22, 2008. Prior to joining the Mariners, the 32-year veteran of Major League Baseball spent nine seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers organization, including the final year there as Vice President, Special Assistant to the General Manager for Player Personnel.
Kingston joined the Mariners in 2009 after spending nine years working with the San Diego Padres, serving the final seven seasons as Director of Baseball Operations.
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Firefighter Memorial Set For Sunday at Town Toyota Center

Memorial Announcement
The U. S. Forest Service will host a memorial to honor firefighters Richard Wheeler, Andrew Zajac, and Tom Zbyszewski, who died in the line of duty last week while assigned to the Twisp River Fire.  The memorial will be at 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 30, 2015.  It will be at the Town Toyota Center, 1300 Walla Walla Avenue, in Wenatchee, WA.  Once family members and agency personnel have been seated, the public will be seated as space allows.
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