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
9:30 am
Current Situation: The inversion is expected to lift again this afternoon removing the “lid” on the fire. Residents in nearby areas may see smoke from flare-ups of unburned islands of fuel within the fire interior.  Yesterday, interior burning on the west side of the Tunk Block Fire generated concern. Today, crews working in the same area will be conducting firing operations to remove unburned fuel between the fire and constructed line. Today’s operation will continue to focus on strengthening existing direct, indirect, and contingency fireline. 

Twisp River Fire: Crews have completed line construction around the entire fire and will be conducting mop-up operations to further secure firelines. 

Tunk Block Fire: Indirect line construction continues along the northeast side of the fire and crews are working to construct contingency lines to the east.  These lines will be tied in with contingency lines being constructed from the North Star Fire.  Crews will also be working to reestablish line along the southeast side of the fire where the fire spotted over the line yesterday afternoon.     

Lime Belt/Blue Lake/Beaver Lake Fires: Crews will be burning out along a small section of line along the west side of the fire. Residents of the 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.

Crews have completed constructing and are continuing to secure line along the west side of the fire, between the fire and Conconully. The fires continue to grow together on the southwest side.  Crews and aviation resources will be focused on constructing line in the Sinlahekin drainage. Indirect line construction will continue to secure the east side of the fire where the fire is backing downslope in heavy timber.  As visibility allows, water scooping airplanes will conduct water drops of 800-1,200 gallons each to support crews on the east side of the fire.

Nine Mile Fire: The fire is in patrol-and-monitor status.

Firefighters continue to watch the weather closely, as the presence/absence of the inversion can have a significant influence on fire activity. Fire managers are asking crews to remain focused because of the potential for afternoon flare-ups as the inversion lifts, hazards from falling snags, and a continuing problem with vehicles driving too fast on highways near the fire area.  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. 

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.
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, 50% containment              Total Personnel: 1,345                      
            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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