Mills Canyon AM Update – July 14th 2014 ^NH

The Mills Canyon fire continues to burn south and west of Entiat, Washington.  Dry fuels consisting of short grass, brush, and scattered timber on steep, rocky terrain challenge suppression efforts for fire crews. Cooperating agencies include U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Washington State Department of Natural Resources, (WA DNR), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Chelan County Emergency Management, the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, and Chelan County Fire District 8.

Yesterday

Sunday  were successful in minimizing fire perimeter growth.  The northeast, east and southeast sectors of the fire were very quiet.  Crews patrolled them to assure that remaining  hot spots do not breach the line.  Several spot fires outside the containment lines were detected and suppressed yesterday in Swakane Canyon.  They were primarily attributed to rolling material on steep terrain.  Hot, dry conditions continue to make fuels extremely flammable.  Containment lines in Roaring Creek were improved and reinforced. Incremental progress continued on connecting containment lines around the northwest corner of the fire from upper Swakane through Dinkelman Flats to Roaring Creek.  Air tankers and bulldozers were extensively employed in this operation.  Secondary lines are also being simultaneously improved to provide a safety net should fire activity intensify. In that same precautionary vein, the structure protection group turned their attention to assessing conditions in the Burch Mountain area to prepare for a worst‐case event that could threaten property there.   Dry thunderstorms pummeled the Oregon Cascades yesterday, but stalled before arriving locally.

Weather

A red Flag warning for thunderstorms extends through 11:00 am this morning.  Skies are expected to clear following the passage of the storm.  Afternoon maximum temperatures are expected to range from the mid‐90’s to over 100 with low  humidity (10‐15%). Today’s Operations Based on current conditions and a local history of dramatic fire growth, fire managers are aggressively attacking the blaze while simultaneous establishing contingency measures.  Today’s plan is to reinforce both primary and contingency lines. The thunderstorms this morning are expected to test of the effectiveness of the existing primary lines.  The top priorities are to reinforce recently constructed hand lines located midslope in upper Swakane Canyon and along Roaring Creek. Other planned activities include extending and improving  secondary lines and initiating precautionary structure protection measures near Burch Mountain. Smoke may be heavy at times in the Entiat River valley and Wenatchee, particularly down valley from the Mills Canyon Fire.  The elderly, children, and anyone with compromised respiratory health are advised to take precautions by limiting exposure to the smoke until conditions improve. The Chelan‐Douglas County Health District provides local air quality advisories (www.cdhd.wa.gov). Fire danger remains high across Eastern Washington.  Be sure to check with your fire agencies for  restrictions, forest and state closures.

Evacuations

Level 1: Highway 97A from Wenatchee to the Entiat River Road, along the Entiat River Road from Roaring Creek Road to Ardenvoir, Eagle Rock/Burch Mountain area, Nahahum Canyon beyond the end of the pavement, Hay Canyon beyond the end of the pavement and Olalla Canyon beyond the end of the pavement (a total of approximately 433 structures).
Level 2: 51 structures on the south side of the Entiat River Road between Mile Post 1.5 and Dinkelman Canyon and Swakane Canyon.
Level 3: 37 structures on the southwest side of Entiat River Road from Dinkelman Canyon to Roaring Creek Road and the entire Roaring Creek Road.

Chelan County official in consultation with the incident management team are regularly evaluating evacuation levels and making adjustments as conditions dictate. For additional information on evacuation levels or road closures, please refer to the Chelan County Emergency Management Facebook page.

Definitions

Level 1: Alert ‐ Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, and monitor local media outlets for information. Evacuations at this time are voluntary.
Level 2: Be Ready ‐ This level indicates there is significant danger to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the effected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready at a moment’s notice.
Level 3: Leave Immediately ‐ Danger to your area is current or imminent, and you should leave immediately.

Shelters

The Red Cross is evaluating the continuing need for a shelter.   For additional information contact the Wenatchee Red Cross at 509‐663‐3907

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