Here is the Saturday afternoon update on the Cougar Creek, Lost, Bannock Lakes and Whitepine Fires provided provided by Cougar Creek Fire Information.
Another Red Flag Warning is in place over the fire area today. Cougar Creek Fire is now at 18,376 acres and 5% containment. Most fire growth occurred within the Mad River, Miners Ridge and Hornet Ridge Area. The fire pushed through containment lines in the McKenzie Saddle area where firefighters have engaged it. The Lost Fire is 114 acres and has line completed around the perimeter which held through the wind event yesterday. No structures have sustained damage.
Last night on the Cougar Creek Fire, a trailer transporting heavy equipment overturned in the roadway on the east side of the fire. No one was injured in the incident, but fire resources north of the accident were unable to travel through to staging areas. About 220 personnel were moved into a large safety zone where they spent the night. Everyone was safe and accounted for. The road has been reopened.
Cougar Creek Fire
Acreage: 18,376 (5,948-acre increase)
Containment: 5 percent
Last evening forecasted winds out of the northwest arrived, pushing fire toward the southeast, down Miner’s Ridge, Hornet Creek and into the Mad River drainage. Wind-driven fire also moved through McKenzie Saddle with single-tree torching visible. Eastern lines on the Cougar Fire were tested, and in some areas, spot fires occurred, which are being managed today. Additional resources were acquired through State Mobilization for the Cougar Creek fire and activated last evening at 6:15 P.M. to assist the structure protection group in the Entiat River Valley. Structures were threatened during this wind event, but none were damaged or destroyed. Established fireline was effective in keeping the fire out of the Entiat Valley.
Today’s priorities include securing the southeast of the fire in an effort to protect the Entiat River Valley. Additional priorities are the southwest portion of the fire from Sugar Loaf Lookout to the northwest and to the southeast. Firefighters will continue to extinguish spot fires caused by embers blowing across control lines from the fire’s push last evening.
Yesterday in anticipation of forecasted weather changes involving gusty winds and possible thunderstorm activity, all firefighters disengaged from the Lost fire. No growth occurred overnight. The containment line firefighters constructed around the entire perimeter was wind tested and held. Acreage remains at 114.
Bannock Lakes Fire:
This lightning-caused fire is approximately 17 miles west of Stehekin in the Glacier Peaks Wilderness. A reconnaissance flight Wednesday found the fire to be about 200 acres. It is burning among large rocky outcroppings and isolated clusters of timber in steep, inaccessible terrain. 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 www.pcta.org. Aerial observers continue to monitor the fire.
The Whitepine Fire, in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, is approximately 3 miles south of Stevens Pass Nordic Center and 19 miles northwest of Leavenworth. This lightning-caused fire remains small and is being regularly monitored from the air.
Weather and Fire Behavior:
A red flag warning for hot, dry, windy conditions remains in effect through this afternoon. Active fire behavior will continue today resulting from gusty winds out of the northwest, which will remain over the area much of the day.
However, Fire Behavior Analyst Jeff Shelton told firefighters gathered at the morning operational briefing, “Today is not a get-out-of-the way kind of day. You can engage safely, but you need to look around and identify what will happen, not just what’s happening now. The dry vegetation is vulnerable and ready to burn.”
Wind and numerous downed trees and standing snags from the 1994 Tyee Fire are fueling the fire’s spread. A high probability of smoke column production is forecasted for today as winds continue to impact the Cougar Creek Fire. As the cold front moves through the area, temperatures will drop significantly over the next few days with a warming trend setting up again for the next week. Thunderstorm activity has diminished significantly, with storm production moving north of the fire area
Level 3: Ardenvoir including Mad River Road plus Entiat River Road from Mad River Road to the
end of Entiat River Road
Level 2: Entiat River Road from Crum Canyon north to Ardenvoir, as well as all of Crum Canyon
Level 1: Entiat River Road from US 97A to Crum Canyon Road.
Level 3 means “Leave Now.” Level 2 means residents need to be ready to evacuate. For specific questions regarding evacuations please call the Chelan County Emergency Management at 509-667-6863 or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CCSOEM.
With the Level 3 evacuation place, an American Red Cross 14916 US 97A Entiat Washington, is open to evacuees. Red Cross can be contacted at 509-663-3907.