Cougar Creek Fire Now Second Largest In State, But Progress Made On Fire Lines

A community meeting last night at the Plain Community Church was attended by about 250 people. An additional 300 people watched the live Facebook stream, and the video is available on Facebook. Additional meetings will be held as needed to inform the public and answer questions.
Cougar Creek Fire:
The Cougar Creek Fire, 20 miles northwest of Entiat, is 10,723 acres. A total of 895 personnel, including 22 crews, 6 aircraft, 28 engines, and 12 bulldozers are being shared between the Cougar Creek and Lost Fires.
Very high temperatures and low humidity yesterday led to increased fire activity on the southwest side. The fire crossed the Mad River north of Burgess Cabin between Alma and Wilma Creeks. Airtankers dropped retardant along six miles of ridgetops to slow the fire’s southwest spread. Burnout operations continued along the Tyee Ridge Road south of Tyee Lookout as fire crews worked to flank the fire and halt its spread to the east.
The fire remained active overnight, as temperatures remained above 70 degrees with continued low humidity. Thursday, firefighters will conduct more burnout operations along the eastern side of the fire south of Tyee Ridge. Aircraft support will be available. On the west side of the fire, dozer operators will work to reopen a section of fireline first built during the 1994 Tyee Fire.
Lost Fire:
The Lost Fire is now about 111 acres after little growth Wednesday. A second Type 2 initial attack crew joined the 80 firefighters already involved in aggressive direct attack on this fire. With aerial support, crews will make more progress today, building line in the steep, rocky terrain through patches of alpine fir, scattered downed logs, and standing snag trees.
Bannock Lakes Fire:
This lightning-caused fire is approximately 17 miles west of Stehekin in the Glacier Peaks Wilderness. A reconnaissance flight yesterday found the fire to be about 100 acres. It is burning in steep, inaccessible terrain.
Whitepine Fire:
The Whitepine Fire, in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, is about three 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 is in effect from noon to 11 p.m. Temperatures could top 100 degrees in the valley, with 78 to 83 degrees forecast on the ridgetops. Southwest winds 8 to15 miles per hour and gusts to 25 miles per hour are expected. Once again, residents should expect to see areas of smoke rising from the Cougar Creek and Lost fires during the afternoon and evening hours.
Evacuations:
On Tuesday, August 7, Chelan County Emergency Management raised the Evacuation Level to 3 from Potato Creek to the end of the Entiat River Road. This means “Leave Now.” Level 2 evacuations are in effect from Mad River north to Potato Creek, meaning residents should be ready to evacuate if needed. 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 again in place, the Red Cross will continue to provide services to those affected by the evacuation. Red Cross can be contacted at 509-663-3907 for evacuation shelter information.
Smoke:
Smoke from the Cougar Creek and Lost Fires continue to be visible from surrounding communities. Air quality is moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups in the Wenatchee Valley today. Individuals with respiratory problems are encouraged to acquire N95 masks. These masks are available at local fire stations, provided by the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office. For more information on smoke and public health, go to www.wasmoke.blogspot.com or https://bit.ly/2J22754 (Spanish).
Photo: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

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