The communities along the east side of the Cascades experienced an extensive lightning storm on September 8, igniting over 100 wildfires, some of which grew to several thousand acres in size. A month has passed since fire suppression efforts began, and the majority of the fires have been contained. However, suppression, mop up and fire line rehabilitation efforts continue on several of the larger fires and more remote fires.
Public and firefighter safety continue to be the first priority. Weather conditions continue to be dry; the area has not received significant rainfall since July. New fires continue to be reported from lightning strikes that occurred during the initial storm. It is likely that it will take substantial fall rains or snow to fully suppress the fires.
Managers are regularly assessing fire and public safety conditions to look for additional opportunities to revise closures. Several of the large area closures have been reduced, and some of the road and trail closures have been lifted.
The large area closure that encompassed the southern portion of the Chelan Ranger District, along the south shore to the district’s south boundary, has been lifted.
On the Entiat Ranger District, the large area closure has been scaled back to encompass the land around the 14,163-acre Byrd Fire located approximately 5 miles north of Entiat, the 1,475-acre Klone Fire and the 1,692-acre Pyramid Fire, both located roughly 25 miles northwest of Entiat in the upper Entiat River drainage.
The Byrd Fire closure area has been reduced. The new boundary follows the Navarre Coulee Road on the northern section and Mud Creek Road No. 5300 along its western edge, allowing Mud Creek Road, Entiat River Road, Crum Canyon Road and US Highway 97A to remain open.
The Klone Fire and Pyramid Fire closure areas have been scaled back. National forest system lands south and east of Shady Pass Road No. 5900 and Middle Tommy Trail No. 1424 are open. The main Entiat River Road No. 51 beyond Lake Creek Campground is closed, but Lake Creek and Fox Creek campgrounds remain open for public use.
The Wenatchee River Ranger District has several area closures currently in place that have been revised due to progress in fire containment efforts. The area closure in the Chiwawa River drainage has been reduced to encompass the land surrounding the 1,127-acre Basalt Creek Fire burning approximately 1 mile northeast of Chiwawa River Road No. 6200. The main Chiwawa River Road, Rock Creek Trail No. 1509 and Garland Peak Trail No. 1408 are open to public use.
The area closure surrounding the 2,609-acre Cashmere Mountain Fire, in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area approximately 5 miles southwest of the town of Leavenworth, has been scaled back along its western edge. This change opens Trout Creek Trail No. 1555, and a 2.5 mile section of trail from Trout Lake to Windy Pass. The remainder of the Eightmile-Trout Creek Trail remains closed. Jack Creek Trail No. 1558 is also open to public use, and campgrounds along Icicle River Road are open.
The closure includes the Eightmile Road No. 7601, and the Colchuck, Stuart, Eightmile, and Caroline lakes portion of the Enchantment area in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. However, the Enchantment Basin itself remains open with access via Snow Creek Trail as far as Aasgard Pass.
Many Enchantment area overnight camping permits are cancelled. Please call the Wenatchee River Ranger Station for more information on which permits are cancelled.
Fire closures remain in place for most of the area surrounding the Poison, Canyons and Peavine Fires on national forest system lands south of the towns of Cashmere and Wenatchee. This includes the area between U.S. Highway 97 and No. 1, No. 2 and Pitcher Canyons, and popular recreation areas near Wenatchee, such as Mission Ridge Ski Area, Beehive Reservoir, and the Devil’s Gulch and Mission Ridge Trails. The southern boundary of this closure coincides with the Table Mountain Fire closure on the Cle Elum Ranger District. Ruby and Camas Creek areas are now open.
Road closures remain in place for the Middle Fork Gold Creek Road No. 4340-100 and Road No. 4330-100 in the vicinity of the Buckhorn Mountain Fire on the Methow Valley Ranger District, a few miles south of the town of Carlton. The road closures in the vicinity of the Goat Mountain fire have been lifted.
On the Cle Elum Ranger District, the trail and road closures in the Stafford Creek, Upper Teanaway Ridge, and Ingalls Creek areas west of Blewett Pass and U.S. Highway 97 have been lifted. Trail closures remain in effect for the French Cabin Trail No. 1307 and Kachess Ridge Trail No. 1315 from Knox Creek junction to the saddle that drops into Silver Creek, north of the town of Easton.
The Table Mountain Fire area closure remains in effect east of US Highway 97 to the Naneum State Forest north of the city of Ellensburg. Closures were lifted for portions of the Nanuem State Forest, and state wildlife lands reopened east of Coleman Canyon Road to the intersection of Naneum Ridge Road. This includes the areas of Coleman, Rue, Cooke, Four Corners, in Kittitas County near the Naneum Ridge Road and the airstrip, Jumpoff, Pole Flats, and Stemilt Basin. The area referred to as Four Corners near the Beehive Reservoir on national forest system lands in Chelan County remains closed.
All state lands west of Coleman Canyon Road remain closed, including the areas of Dawson, Schnebly, Boulder Creek, Swift Creek, Green Cabin, and Naneum Basin. The purpose of this continued closure is to provide for firefighter safety for personnel still working on the fire lines.
On the Naches Ranger District, trail closures remain in effect due to two fires in the Gold Hill area of the William O. Douglas Wilderness and Kettle Creek area of the Norse Peak Wilderness.
Trail, road and area closures prohibit entry, with the exception of firefighters, law enforcement officers and agency personnel. Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.
For additional details, go to the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest web site at www.fs.usda.gov/okawen, click on news releases and look for closure orders and area closure maps. Fire updates can be found at www.inciweb.org .
Hunters and recreationists are advised to check with Okanogan-Wenatchee N.F. ranger districts to get the latest information on closures.
Methow Valley Ranger District at 509-996-4003
Tonasket Ranger District at 509-486-2186
Chelan Ranger District at 509-682-4900
Entiat Ranger District at 509-784-1511
Wenatchee River Ranger District at 509-548-2550
Cle Elum Ranger District at 509-852-1100
Naches Ranger Distfict at 509-653-1401
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Headquarters at 509-664-9200