Okanogan Complex Fire Update
Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team - Todd Pechota, Incident Commander
Information Center: 509-850-0083
Hours of operation: 7 am – 9 pm
Aug. 23, 2015, AM
Current Situation: The Okanogan Complex is now 10 percent contained with 239,733 acres having burned. The five fires making up the Okanogan Complex yesterday gained a total of 12,527 acres.
Calm weather yesterday allowed crews to make welcome progress. Smoke is expected to lift which could result in more active fire behavior. A positive result of the smoke lifting would be better visibility allowing aircraft more opportunities to assist firefighters on the ground. Dry fuels will continue to present challenges as well fire behavior reflected in today's Red Flag conditions.
Firefighter and public safety and protection of private property and infrastructure is today’s prime objective. Crews are working hard to establish containment lines and area making good progress; air support will be utilized when visibility allows. Structural firefighters activated under the State Mobilization Act have been an integral part in saving and protecting structures.
Community Meetings: Sunday, Aug. 23 at 4 pm at the East Omak Community Center 601 Benton Street. Fire incident team members will be on hand to provide fire updates.
Tunk Block Fire: Currently: 128,046 acres with approximately 8,942 acres in growth. Containment: 15 percent.
This fire is the largest of the five complex fires. The Colville Tribe has committed a task force of firefighters and equipment to assist over the next several days on the southern end of Tunk Block. Firefighters yesterday removed unburned fuels from the north end of Tunk. As of midnight Saturday, the northern end of Tunk had crossed Highway 20 and is approximately 3 miles southeast of Tonasket proper. Private landowners with structures located between the Tunk and North Star fires may see more air resources today dropping water and retardant as conditions allow. Fire managers are working to keep the Tunk Block and North Star fires apart.
Limebelt / Blue Lake Fire: Currently: 75,785 acres with approximately 2,538 acres in growth. Containment: 20 percent.
Firefighters will work to reinforce dozer lines on the north perimeter of the fire. The public is asked to stay out of active fire areas and let firefighters safely work on fire areas.
Beaver Lake Fire: Currently: 25,929 acres with approximately 4,526 acres in growth. Containment: 0 percent.
Crews will look for opportunities to build direct line on the south side of the fire. Structure protection will continue in the Salmon Creek area. The public is asked to clear the areas where firefighters are working as the additional traffic and lack of coordination can increase firefighter safety hazards.
Twisp River Fire: Currently: 9,973 acres with approximately 1,241 acres in growth. Containment: 0 percent. Three HotShot crews will be working to build direct line today to the fire’s west perimeter to pinch off further growth. Crews today will also continue structure and electrical, data line and phone line protection an on the west sides of Omak and Okanogan.
Nine Mile Fire: Currently: 4,720 acres. Containment: 95 percent.
To learn more about current smoke conditions and associated health hazards visit the Washington Smoke Information site at http://wasmoke.blogspot.com/ .
Evacuations and Closures: For the latest updates on evacuations and to register for automated phone messages in the event of evacuation notices being issued contact the Okanogan Emergency Center emergency staff at 509-422-7348.
Media Briefings: Media briefings will be held at 11 a.m. daily at Okanogan County Fairgrounds. Media field trip 1:00 meeting today.
Fire Statistics as of Sunday morning:
Location: Eleven miles northwest of Omak, WA Start Date: August 14, 2015
Complex Size: 239,733 acres Percent Contained: Shown above
Twisp River: 9,973 acres Total Personnel: 1,041
Lime Belt/Blue Lake: 75,785 acres
Tunk Block: 128,046 acres
Beaver Lake: 25,929 acres
Nine Mile: 4,720 acres
Places to get additional information:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OkaWenNFThe Rocky Mountain IMT has a Facebook page dedicated to “Thank You’s to the firefighters working on the fire line. Visit the page at https://www.facebook.com/RockyMtn.Type1.IMT.PIOs.