Thursday, August 27, 2015

Okanogan Complex Fire Information Update AM 8/27/15

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team - Todd Pechota, Incident Commander 
Information Center:  509-850-0083
Hours of operation: 7 am – 9 pm
August 27, 2015
8:00 am
Current Situation: A Red Flag Warning is in effect today for winds, low humidity and high temperatures.  We expect an increase in fire activity to challenge firefighters on the Okanogan Complex.  Those southerly winds are also likely to help clear the smoke and allow the use of aircraft, both helicopters and heavy air tankers, to make water and retardant drops.

Crews will be focused today on the four corners where the fire has been most active and where terrain and fuels present challenges to containment. Increased fire activity is expected in the afternoon, so there may be torching and short-range spotting of fire in some areas.  If you see a flare-up in the fire area, please do not call 911 unless it is threatening a home or other structure. 

Residents in the fire area are likely to see increased activity by air tankers, helicopters and other aviation resources today and should stay aware and steer clear of that activity if at all possible. Motorists on Hwy 20 and 97 are asked to slow down in the fire vicinity for their own safety and the safety of fire crews exiting and entering the highway.

More than 1,774 fire personnel from 33 states are fighting the Okanogan fire or working to support the firefighting effort.  Crews working last night had a relatively quiet night. One area on the northwest corner of the Lime Belt/Blue Lake/Beaver Lake Fire was active and engine crews responded to minimize the fire’s advance.

Twisp River Fire: Line construction is completed around the entire fire and crews are mopping up to further secure firelines.  Crews have been moved to assist with other fires in the complex.
Tunk Block Fire: Indirect line construction is continuing along the northeast side of the fire and crews are working to construct contingency lines to the east and reinforcing dozer line.  The southeast corner of the fire has been actively spotting in heavy timber and crews are working to re-establish a line around the fire in that area.     
Lime Belt/Blue Lake/Beaver Lake Fires: On the northwest corner of the fire, crews are working to establish line in the Sinlahekin Valley area, where the fire remained active all day northward to the community of Loomis. The southwest corner of the fire saw increased activity and strong growth yesterday afternoon. Mop up and line strengthening work was done in other areas of the perimeter. Structure protection continued in all areas of the complex.
Nine Mile Fire: The fire is in patrol-and-monitor status.

Evacuations and Closures: The public is encouraged to contact the Okanogan Emergency Operations Center to learn how to register for automated phone messages in the event of evacuation notices being issued for particular neighborhoods. Contact emergency staff at 509-422-7348 or the Colville Tribal Emergency Management Center at 507-634-2105.

Media Briefings:  Media briefings are held at 11 am daily at Okanogan County Fairgrounds.

Okanogan Complex Fire Statistics:   
Location:  Eleven miles northwest of Omak, WA                   Start Date: August 14, 2015
Complex Size:  287,704 acres                                                 Complex Percent Contained: 17 
Twisp River: 11,130 acres, 85% containment                                     
             Tunk Block: 149,649 acres, 15%                                                                                           
             Lime Belt/Blue Lake and Beaver Lake: 122,205 acres, 20%
             Nine Mile: 4,720 acres, 95%, in patrol status.
 Total Personnel: 1,774

Places to Get Additional Information:

Fire updates are posted daily on the following information boards:
Safeway, Omak
Walmart, Omak
Pine Creek Area
Conconully Fire Station, Conconully
Tonasket Visitor Center, Tonaskett
Frontier Foods, Winthrop 
Carlton General Store,  Carlton
Twisp General Store, Twisp
Twisp Mayor’s Office
Sun Mountain Lodge, Omak
Spike Camp, Winthrop
Winthrop Market
Winthrop Mini Gas
Farmer’s Board, Omak
Library, Omak
City Hall, Omak
Twitter: #OkanoganComplex
The Rocky Mountain IMT has a Facebook page dedicated to “Thank You’s to the firefighters working on the fire line. Visit the page at
Spanish Language Information: (509) 422-2422

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