Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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

August 26, 2015

9:00 pm

Current Situation: An inversion continues over the fire area, creating another day of smoky conditions.  That blanket of smoke has kept temperatures down but created visibility problems that kept firefighting aircraft grounded again today.  Red Flag conditions are forecast for tomorrow with an increase in winds and that wind is expected to help clear out the smoke.

Firefighters will once again be working a night shift this evening. The weather forecast for the fire area overnight calls for higher humidity and a chance of scattered light rain and dry lightning. However, vegetation remains very dry and ready to burn. Crews will be patrolling areas of active fire near structures and will respond as needed.

The Okanogan Complex Fire remains the highest priority fire in the nation. More than 1,774 fire personnel from 33 states are fighting the fire or working to support the firefighting effort.

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. 

Twisp River Fire: Crews completed line construction around the entire fire and continued mop-up operations to further secure firelines.  Fire managers will begin moving crews from the Twisp River Fire to assist with other fires in the complex.
Tunk Block Fire: Indirect line construction continued along the northeast side of the fire and crews worked to construct contingency lines to the east.  These lines will be tied in with contingency lines being constructed from the North Star Fire to stop fire growth to the north.  Crews also worked to reestablish line along the southeast side of the fire where the fire spotted over the line yesterday.     

Lime Belt/Blue Lake/Beaver Lake Fires: Crews burned out along a small section of line along the west side of the fire. On the northwest corner of the fire, crews are beginning structure assessment and protection for the area between the fire and the community of Loomis.

Residents of nearby communities may see smoke both from the burnout operations and flare-ups of unburned islands of fuel within the fire interior. If you see a flare-up in the fire area, please do not call 911 unless it is close to and threatening a home or other structure. If you see a new fire outside of the fire area please call 911.  On the northwest corner of the fire, crews are beginning structure assessment and protection for the area between the fire and the community of Loomis.

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 will be 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:  280,267 acres                                                    Complex Percent Contained: 17
Twisp River: 11,129 acres, 85% containment                   Total Personnel: 1,774                      
            Tunk Block: 145,113 acres, 15%                                                                                           
            Lime Belt/Blue Lake and Beaver Lake: 119,305 acres, 20%
            Nine Mile: 4,720 acres, 95%, in patrol status.

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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