Firefighters joined the last sections of Division C and D together yesterday, burning interior ground fuels adjacent to established firelines and mopping up hot spots to tightly secure the perimeter of the 80,801-acre Colockum Tarps Fire. One of the most important parts of constructing a fire containment line is securely connecting sections together; and often the final sections to be joined involve the most challenging fuel or terrain. This has been true for the rocky, steep, timbered drainages along the western edge of the Colockum Tarps Fire.
Yesterday, temperatures approaching 80 degrees and lower relative humidity made for excellent burning conditions. Heavy fuels were consumed by burning operations within the fire perimeter. Air operations closely supported ground crews to contain fire throughout the day. The Fire is now 75% contained.
Interior of the perimeter, fire was active last night with occasional tree torching, but night-patrol crews report that it stayed within its intended “box.” Infrared devices have been used to identify areas of concentrated heat. Today, firefighters will continue to hold and mop up along firelines, closely monitoring fire behavior as easterly winds affect the area. Dozers and crews continue rehabilitating fire lines. Excess heavy equipment, crews, and aircraft are being demobilized and made available for other area fires.
Smoke may continue to be visible west of the Fire as winds pick up today from the east. Public information officers working at the incident command post in Wenatchee are available throughout the day to provide immediate updates about the fire to the public. Information about burning out and aerial ignition techniques can be found at http://tinyurl.com/lczmjsg.
A low pressure system, bringing the possibility of some precipitation, increasing winds with gusts up to 20 mph, and thunder storms with lightning is expected to arrive from the south tonight. A red flag warning for widespread thunderstorms from 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. has been issued.
A Type III incident management team under the direction of Bob Marshall will assume authority for the Colockum Tarps Fire on Sunday, August 11, 2013 after a day of shadowing the current Washington Interagency Incident Management Team #4.
As of 2:30 p.m. yesterday, as a result of successful firefighting operations, the Kittitas County Sheriff phased its Emergency Operations Center down to status with Enhanced Communications only. All Level 3 Evacuation areas are dropping to Level 2; otherwise, levels across the county remain in effect. All permanent residents have been able to return to their homes. Evacuation Level 2 or higher areas are only open to property owners and fire crews. The map of Kittitas County current evacuation areas is available at http://tinyurl.com/jvz3x3u.
Many roads in the area, including the Naneum Road between “four corners” and the Colockum Road, continue to be closed. All current road closures will remain in effect through the weekend, with a reevaluation of these closures scheduled for Monday, August 12.
The Colockum Tarps Fire has been burning since Saturday, July 27, 2013, through dry grass, sagebrush and timber growing in steep drainages along the western shore of the Columbia River, 11 miles southwest of Wenatchee, Washington. It was human caused and grew rapidly. On July 31, the push from easterly winds moved the fire toward sparsely populated areas along the Parke, Caribou and Colockum Roads in Kittitas County prompting additional evacuation notifications.
Fire Facts – Friday, August 9, 2013 – 0900 HOURS
Fire Size: approximately 80,801 acres Percent Contained: 75%
Evacuations: Levels 1, 2 and 3 remain in effect in Kittitas and Chelan Counties. There are numerous road closures in the vicinity. In Kittitas County, sheltering is available for people or animals through the Red Cross as the need arises. Please contact the Emergency Operations Center at 509 933-8305 or KittCom at 509 925-8534.
Fuels: Grass, brush, with timber at the higher elevations
Air Resources: One light, one medium, and two heavy helicopters.
Crews: 2 Type I crews; 12 Type II crews
Engines: 54 Dozers: 4 Water Tenders: 16
Total Personnel: Approx. 738
Cost to Date: $8.5 million
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