Friday, August 28, 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 28, 2015
9:00 pm

Current Situation:  Blustery winds have cleared out much of the heavy smoke that’s blanketed the Okanogan Complex for the past week.  Those winds posed a challenge for firefighters working to hold the line on the southeast corner of the Tunk Block Fire, along Highway 155 near Disautel. But with clearer skies, firefighters were able to make ample use of helicopters and water-scooping aircraft on that area.

Despite the flare-up on the southeast corner of the fire, crews made good progress in building containment line.  As a result, the fire saw little growth in acreage and the fire is now 23 percent contained. Work continued today in several priority areas, including the northeastern corner of the Tunk Block Fire, where crews worked to connect a series of fuels breaks.  Crews continued work to secure a line in the Sinlahekin Valley on the northwest corner of the Lime Belt Fire. Efforts there have focused on structure protection south of the community of Loomis. Crews also continued to build line on the southwestern corner of the Lime Belt Fire.  The Twisp and Nine Mile Fires are largely contained and are in mop up and monitoring status.

Firefighters are bracing for a cold front forecast to move through the complex Saturday morning.  That front is expected to bring strong, shifting winds. A Red Flag Warning will be in effect for winds gusting to 45 mph.  The National Weather Service has also put out a dust warning as a result of those strong winds. The combination of wind and dust is likely to cause reduced visibility. Thunderstorms are also possible tomorrow.   
The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team is wrapping up its time on the Okanogan Complex. The California Incident Management Team 5 will assume management of the fire on Saturday.

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:  302,225 acres                                                 Complex Percent Contained: 23%
Twisp River: 11,831 acres, 85% containment                                     
            Tunk Block: 158,892 acres, 10%                                                                                           
            Lime Belt/Blue Lake and Beaver Lake: 126,782 acres, 15%
            Nine Mile: 4,720 acres, 95%, in patrol status.
Total Personnel: 1,918

Information Sources:
Spanish Language Information: (509) 422-2422

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