Mills Canyon & Chiwaukum Complex Fire Update – 7/24/14 ^NH

Suppression of these fires is an interagency effort, including Chelan County Fire Districts 1, 3, 8 and 9; Washington DNR; Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and the Bureau of Land Management.

Yesterday
There was no significant spread due to the amount of precipitation on all of the fires. The fires received between .25” to .5” of rain, depending on where the storm cells moved through. There was a flash flood warning in effect yesterday.

Chiwaukum Creek Fire:   Firefighters could not access the more remote sections of the north flank of fire due to heavy rain, extremely muddy and slick roads. Fire personnel utilized this opportunity to mop up containment lines and prepare for anticipated fire growth due to increasing temperatures in the coming days. East of Highway 2 dozers worked to open up old roads and dozer lines to serve as contingency lines if needed.
100 National Guard personnel strengthened and mopped up fire line along Highway 2.

Mills Canyon:  Firefighters are strengthening containment lines with mop up and rehabilitation to protect the resource.

Kelly Mountain: Firefighters were flown off of the fire on Tuesday due to the anticipated thunderstorms which occurred yesterday. The rain has temporarily reduced fire activity.
Duncan:  Crews that had been working on protection efforts on structures east and south of the fire were pulled out of the area due to debris flows across the Entiat River Road caused by heavy rain. The rain has temporarily reduced fire activity and spread.

Weather
More than 22,000 lightning strikes were detected yesterday in Washington and Oregon. High winds out of the northwest, with gusts of 30-35 mph are forecast for today. Drier and hotter weather is expected to arrive this weekend and temperatures are predicted to be over 100 degrees again by the middle of next week, with very low humidity. This will likely result in an increase of fire activity on existing fires and the potential for lightning strikes that have been smoldering to actively burn.

Today’s Operations
The safety of firefighters and the public remains the highest priority.  PNW Team 3 is continually evaluating operations and activity on the fires they are managing and supporting neighboring incidents as appropriate.  There is concern with the muddy and slick road and fire line conditions on all fires.

Chiwaukum Creek Fire:  Firefighters will continue to hold and secure containment lines on the north and east perimeter, including along Highway 2.  They are also evaluating conditions for resuming the burnout operations on the northeast edge of the fire above Thompson Creek to secure that fireline. The National Guard contingent will resume their work of securing and mopping up along Highway 2. Suppression options are being evaluated on the southern and western perimeters which are partially within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area.

Mills Canyon Fire: Fire rehabilitation, holding and patrolling lines will continue today. Excess fire resources will continue to be shifted to other priorities.
Kelly Mountain Fire:  The fire will be patrolled by air today.  Ground resources will be flown back in to the fire when conditions improve, possibly as early as tomorrow, to complete fire lines and suppression efforts.

Duncan Fire:  Protection measures are completed on the cabins and campgrounds along the upper Entiat River road. Heavy equipment — feller-bunchers, skidders and chippers – will resume construction of the shaded fuel break from Shady Pass to Entiat River road.

Evacuations  and Other Information

Evacuations remain unchanged today. Chelan County Emergency Services posts updated evacuations and closures on their Facebook and Twitter sites at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chelan-County-Emergency-Management/188543097925415 or follow them on twitter @ChelanCountyEM.

Fire updates can also be found on the Incident Information System Website (InciWeb) at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3937/.
Highway closures and other information is available through Washington D.O.T. on their twitter feed @wsdot.
Information about flooding and other concerns after a fire moves through can be found at: http://www.centralwashingtonfirerecovery.info.
Smoke information can be found at:  http://wasmoke.blogspot.com/ and on the webcam in Leavenworth at:   http://www.leavenworth.org/news-weather

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#ChiwaukumCreek #MillsCanyon, #KellyMountain, #Duncan Fire Maps – July 24 2014 ^NH

20140724ChiwaukumCreekReduced Chiwaukum Creek Map PDF 20140724DuncanKellyReduced

Duncan & Kelly Maps PDF

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Firefighter Appreciation – July 24th 2014 ^NH

To those interested in Mills Canyon and Chiwaukum Complex,

People in the communities affected by Mills Canyon and Chiwaukum Complex are so generous in their appreciation of the hard work done by firefighters and, on occasion want to express that appreciation by making donations or contributions to the crews.

Thank you!

I’d like to clarify a few things though, so that these good intentions have the desired benefit.

Logistical support for firefighters, including meals, showers and medical assistance is provided to the crews.  Because the firefighters are well cared for; they would encourage that your generosity be directed toward those who are victims instead.  To the north, in Okanogan County there are many who are without homes in the wake of the Carlton Complex.

As an alternative, the Wildland Firefighter Association accepts financial donations and uses those funds to help support families of injured or fallen firefighters (www.wffoundation.org).

Beyond that, a simple word of thanks when crossing paths with a firefighter does wonders for the morale of the troops.

Thank YOU, for supporting these hard working individuals.

 

Ed Lewis

Incident Commander, PNW Team 3

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#ChiwaukumCreek #KellyMountain, #Duncan Fire’s Evening Update ^NH #WAFire

20140723ChiwaukumCreek Chiwaukum Creek PDF 20140723KellyMountainDuncan

Kelly Mountain & Duncan PDF

20140723MillsCanyonReduced Mills Canyon PDF

 

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Mills Canyon Evening Update ^NH

Basic Information

Current as of 7/22/2014, 10:21:39 PM
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Under Investigation
Date of Origin Tuesday July 08th, 2014 approx. 12:30 PM
Location Directly adjacent to Entiat, WA – zero miles from city proper.
Incident Commander Ed Lewis, Incident Commander Pnw3
Incident Description Wildlfire

Current Situation

Total Personnel 57
Size 22,571 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 90%
Percent of Perimeter To Be Contained 100%
Fuels Involved Timber, brush and grass
Significant Events Fire activity continues to be minimal, with creeping and smoldering.

Outlook

Planned Actions Continue to implement fire suppression repair work in all approved areas of the fire. Provide for initial attack operations within the IA boundary as described in the Delegation of Authority letter, and continue to support local unit with initial attack capacity as requested. Continue to hold and patrol all areas of the fire.
Projected Incident Activity 12 Hours:

During the next 12 hour period, night shift hours, incident activity is expected to be minimal

24 Hours:

Incident movement is not expected at this time.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns Rain showers and overcast skies hindered afternoon temperatures, and caused a notable increase in relative humidity. Southwesterly winds are expected to gradually increase tonight as a deep low pressure system approaches from the west with light-to-moderate rain anticipated through much of tomorrow. Possible rainfall amounts up to 0.20″ on the Mills Canyon fire area. A slight chance of thunderstorms remains in the forecast for tomorrow afternoon and evening. Thunderstorms pose the threat of brief heavy rain, which could cause flash flooding and a heightened threat of debris flows or mudslides on wildfire burn scars. The National Weather Service in Spokane has issued a Flash Flood Watch for Wednesday (8 am PDT-11 pm PDT) for this concern on the Mills Canyon fire. Winds will increase substantially as well, initially moderate southwesterly then shifting northwesterly tomorrow evening.

Light rain showers will continue through early Thursday, then dissipate by noon. Temperatures will be slow to rebound and are forecast to peak in the 60s, with the primary weather concern being the moderate northwesterly winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph. More seasonable weather is expected Friday with expected highs of 72-82 degrees and relative humidity in the 30s.

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Chiwaukum Creek, Kelly Mountain, Duncan Fire’s Evening Update ^NH

Basic Information

Current as of 7/22/2014 10:16:14 PM
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning
Date of Origin Tuesday July 15th, 2014 approx. 01:00 PM
Location Chiwaukum is near the community of Leavenworth. Duncan and Kelly Mountain Fires are north of Klone Peak.
Incident Commander Ed Lewis, Incident Commander Pnw Team 3
Incident Description Wildland Fires

Current Situation

Total Personnel 1,011
Size 12,255 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 10%
Fuels Involved Ponderosa pine, grand fir, silver fir, mountain hemlock, sub-alpine fir. Across the 3 fire areas, several fuel models are represented, including 10, 9, 8, 11, 12, 13, and 5. Slash fuel models occur along the north flank of the Chiwaukum Creek fire.
Significant Events No significant fire spread due to more favorable weather with small amounts of precipitation.

Outlook

Planned Actions Chiwaukum Creek: continue to hold fire west of highway; and continue to identify and implement containment options in the northern and southeastern areas of the fire. Continue to provide structure protection where needed.

Kelly fire: monitor fire utilizing aircraft until wet weather system passes and crews are re-inserted.

Duncan: continue to develop contingency lines and shaded fuel breaks along roads and dozer lines for indirect containment options.

Projected Incident Activity 12 Hours:

Rain is expected to persist off and on over all fires in the complex and no perimeter growth is expected. Heavy fuels will continue to consume.

24 Hours:

Moderate precipitation is expected in and near all fires in the complex, and therefore fire spread is not expected. Heavy fuels will continue to consume.

48 Hours:

Fire activity is expected to slowly return, as weather becomes warm and dry again. With the projected strong winds, some fire spread will occur on all uncontained portions of all fires, however significant spread is not expected at this time.

72 Hours:

Fuels will continue to dry as weather again returns to warm and dry, however significant growth is not expected at this time.

After 72 Hours:

Fire activity is expected to increase significantly as weather becomes warmer and drier, and likely to be above average temperatures and possibly triple digits in the vicinity of the fire area.

Remarks Personnel will continue to support local initial attack as needed. National Guard troops (100) will be active and supporting fireline operations within the 24 hour timeframe.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns Rain showers and overcast skies lowered afternoon temperatures and caused a notable increase in afternoon relative humidity. Southwesterly winds are expected to gradually increase tonight as a deep low pressure system approaches from the west. Light-to-moderate rain is anticipated through much of Wednesday, as the storm system continues to move through the area. Rough storm-total expected rainfall amounts are: Up to 0.50″ at Chiwaukum, up to 0.25″ at Duncan & Kelly, and up to 0.20″ on Mills Canyon.

A slight chance of thunderstorms remains in the forecast for Wednesday afternoon and evening. Thunderstorms pose the threat of brief heavy rain, which could cause flash flooding, debris flows, mudslides, etc. This threat is heightened on the fuel-barren, hydrophobic soils of wildfire burn scars.

The NWS in Spokane has issued a flash flood watch, which includes the Mills Canyon fire area.

Winds will increase substantially as well; initially moderate southwesterly then shifting northwesterly Wednesday evening.

Light rain showers will continue through early Thursday, then dissipate by noon as the upper low moves northeast of the fires. Temperatures will be slow to rebound and are forecast to peak in the 60s. Primary weather concern on Thursday will be the moderate northwesterly winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph.

More seasonable weather is expected Friday and high pressure will slowly build over the fires; allowing temperatures and relative humidity to trend back toward normal values. Expect highs of 72-82 degrees and relative humidity in the 30s.

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Chiwaukum Complex News Release – How Does Rain Affect Fires – 7/22/2014 ^NH

Does rain help the firefighting efforts?

The answer is a definite MAYBE.

The rain slows the fire spread and lowers intensity (flame length) allowing firefighters to directly attack the fire front. This is particularly important in the lower elevations where the grass and sage are the primary fuels for the fires. The fine fuels absorb moisture much more rapidly but also dry much faster.

At higher elevations in heavily forested areas much of this rain is intercepted by the tree canopy and may never reach the forest floor but greatly causes the relative humidity. This means a couple days of low intensity fire behavior and may delay planned burnout operations critical to containment efforts. Once the conditions change to warmer and drier conditions firing operations may return.

Rain exposes firefighters to additional safety hazards due to slick walking conditions and roads. Heavy rains may even cause minor landslides and flooding. Many times aviation resources have to be grounded due to low cloud cover and safety concerns.

The “most” favorable precipitation for firefighters is a week of steady soaking rain or snow. This is called a “season ending” event. It’s arrival ends fire season for the year.

The rain that the Chiwaukum Complex is experiencing now is NOT a season ending event. We are still a good two months or more away from that “event”.

So please, be vigilant with the possibility of new fire starts. We are a long way from the end of fire season and firefighters could use a break from new starts.

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