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  • The State of Washington

    LINCOLN, Wash. (AP) - A fire on the Colville Indian Reservation,
    called the Rattlesnake Canyon fire, swelled to 3,000 acres,
    increasing its coverage area in northcentral Washington by nearly
    50 percent over Saturday, fire officials said Sunday.
    A smaller blaze, the Paddle fire, had consumed 700 acres on the
    Spokane Indian Reservation to the east, and up north in the
    Pasayten Wilderness, three fires covered a total of about 1,680
    acres.
    The Rattlesnake Canyon fire, on the north side of the Columbia
    River, just across from the little town of Lincoln and west of the
    Columbia's confluence with the Spokane River, was in a remote area
    and not threatening homes, said Marc Hollen with the Northwest
    Interagency Fire Coordination Center in Portland, Ore.
    But he said it's going to take more than the 100 firefighters
    on-site to take care of this one. The flames were devouring the
    area's tinder-dry pine trees and sagebrush, Hollen said: "The
    grasses give it speed and the pines give it intensity."
    The very active fire was jumping lines built to contain it,
    Carol Tocco of the center said Sunday night.
    A multi-agency fire-management team took over the blaze Sunday
    afternoon, working with anthropologists to ensure protection for
    important tribal cultural sites in the area.
    The cause of the fire, which began late Friday near the river,
    was being investigated, Tocco said Sunday night.
    "There was no lightning or anything of that nature," Hollen
    said.
    No containment date had been set, he said.
    On the Spokane Indian Reservation, meanwhile - in the same area
    but east of the Spokane River - the Paddle fire had scorched 700
    acres by Sunday night. That blaze, which started Saturday, was not
    burning as strongly as the one on the nearby Colville Rez, in part
    due to wind and available fuels.
    The fire, about 35 miles northwest of Spokane, apparently began
    with fireworks shot off a boat in Lake Roosevelt, said Bureau of
    Indian Affairs spokeswoman Ann Dahl in Wellpinit. The lake is a
    long, deep stretch of the Columbia behind the Grand Coulee Dam.
    Some area roads were closed Sunday and people have been asked to
    leave the Pierre Campground, near where the fire began, Dahl said.
    A multi-agency management crew was taking over that fight Sunday
    evening. The Paddle fire was about 25 percent contained Saturday
    but there was no updated figure available Sunday, and no word on
    the amount of personnel on hand.
    "The two fires can see each other's columns," Hollen said, and
    crews on the Spokane Reservation fire thought their blaze looked
    "pretty puny" compared to the larger conflagration to the west.
    Meanwhile, farther north in the Methow Valley near Winthrop, the
    Farewell Creek fire expanded about 100 acres overnight to 1,360
    acres, said Nick Michel with the state Department of Natural
    Resources.
    It was the largest of three fires in that area, and containment
    was zero, Michel said. Two smaller fires were contained. Tocco of
    the interagency center said the 120-acre Fawn Peak blaze and the
    200-acre Sweetgrass Fire were both contained Sunday.
    Fresh crews were due to hit the Farewell Creek fire Sunday, he
    said.
    "We have about 800 people on all three fires, and a whole bunch
    of equipment," he said.
    Sunday marked the start of a ground assault on the Farewell
    Creek fire, tackled only by air previously. Fire managers had
    worked out a new strategy and about 200 incoming firefighters were
    being directed to the blaze, along with bulldozers and other ground
    equipment.
    "This is the first day of a real ground assault on the Farewell
    Creek Fire," Michel said.
    The blaze is in rough, steep terrain and "it took time to find
    a safe place to put firefighters on the ground," Hollen said.
    ---
    On the Net:
    www.or.blm.gov/nwcc

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  • #2
    Reducing risks, Increasing concerns

    WINTHROP, Wash. (AP) - A state official has cited the U.S.
    Forest Service for excess smoke generated by a prescribed burn in
    June, saying efforts to address health concerns about such smoke
    through inter-agency meetings apparently got nowhere.
    The June 18 notice of violation marked the first time the state
    Ecology Department had cited the Forest Service for a planned burn.
    Ecology can issue fines of up to $10,000 per day for violations,
    but will not decide whether to impose a fine until after the Forest
    Service responds to the notice.
    Susan Billings, Ecology's air quality program manager in Yakima,
    said her agency met with the U.S. Forest Service and state
    Department of Natural Resources in February to discuss problems
    with smoke in the Methow Valley last fall, when citizens complained
    about the amount and duration of prescribed burning.
    When a similar problem arose the very next spring, Billings
    said, it was time to take action.
    Billings said her agency is not opposed to prescribed burning
    intended to thin forests and help prevent catastrophic wildfires.
    But, she added, "What we expect is, when burning is used as a
    tool, that it be conducted in a way that it doesn't affect public
    health."
    Billings said she wants to discuss whether the state's Smoke
    Management Plan is being applied as written, and possible
    revisions. A letter from her agency to the DNR that accompanied a
    copy of the notice of violation suggests the plan isn't working as
    well as it could.
    Roger Autry, DNR's smoke and fuels management specialist, says
    the plan works but that there will be occasions when the weather
    doesn't perform as expected.
    That's what happened June 4, he said, when he approved ignition
    of part of the Cub Creek/Rendezvous prescribed burn north of
    Winthrop - the fire that drew the citation.
    Autry said he told the Forest Service it couldn't burn for at
    least three or four days in a row before June 4, because the wind
    would have pushed smoke down into the valley.
    But because the inversion was expected to lift at 10 a.m. June
    4, he told the federal agency it could proceed then with a
    1,000-acre burn.
    The inversion did not lift, however, and smoke was trapped in
    the valley, prompting a flurry of complaints from residents.
    DNR approval is based on other factors besides weather, Autry
    said - the size of the burn area, the elevation, the type of
    material being burned and the number of days the burn will take.
    But because it's harder to predict the weather several days in
    advance, larger, multi-day burns require more difficult decisions.
    "The farther you go out in the forecast, the shakier the
    information gets," he said.
    Richy Harrod, fire ecologist for the Okanogan and Wenatchee
    National Forests, said the National Fire Plan provides funds for
    thinning and prescribed burning, especially near residential areas.
    A combination of thinning and prescribed burns is often needed
    to create a healthy forest that is less prone to catastrophic fire,
    Harrod said. Between 10,000 and 12,000 acres are burned on the two
    forests each year, he said, and 7,500 acres are non-commercially
    thinned.
    "We'll need at least four times, and maybe more, the number of
    acres we're currently doing to reverse the trend," he said.
    "That's a lot. More than we are capable of doing at current
    funding or person-power."
    The challenge will be to find a way to protect air quality as
    such burns are increased, Harrod said.
    "There's going to be more smoke associated with that," he
    said. "It's a trade-off between severe, all-summer wildfires
    versus having fire for short periods, where we can have control
    over it."
    Ecology spokeswoman Joye Redfield-Wilder said that's going to be
    an issue for all communities that border national forests.
    "If this is going to become a routine thing, it could be
    they're going to be smoked out from April to November," she said.
    The violation notice has already sparked interest around the
    country, she said.
    "The threat of wildfire is valid," she said. "However, all
    ways of thinning the forest need to be considered."

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

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    • #3
      July 9th

      KELLER, Wash. (AP) - Clear skies brought warmer temperatures but
      less wind Wednesday, helping firefighters battling the state's
      largest wildfire.
      The Rattlesnake Canyon fire on the Colville Indian Reservation
      in northeast Washington was 50 percent contained Wednesday and did
      not gain much ground during the day.
      The fire has burned 10,600 acres. Three additional outbuildings
      were burned Wednesday, for a total of 10 outbuildings and one
      summer home lost to the fire, said Marc Hollen, a spokesman for the
      Northwest Interagency Fire Coordination Center in Portland, Ore.
      Ground crews aided by aircraft were trying to push the flames
      toward the nearby Columbia River, fire information officer Troy
      Kinghorn said.
      More than 500 firefighters were working the blaze, Hollen said.
      The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but
      officials have said they believe fireworks are to blame.
      Crews have built a fire line around a group of homes and the
      flames have passed around them. Officials are currently expecting
      lines to hold around another group of expensive homes in a
      community known as Balcomville.
      The fire has been burning since July 4, and officials said they
      expect to have it contained by Sunday.
      Meanwhile, the Paddle fire on the adjacent Spokane Indian
      Reservation was 100 percent contained late Wednesday and an
      evacuation readiness warning has been lifted. The fire burned 1,324
      acres and was started by fireworks.
      The remote Farewell Creek fire near the Pasayten Wilderness in
      northcentral Washington continued to burn over roughly 1,600 acres.
      There was no estimate of containment on that fire.
      The Farewell Creek fire is burning in mostly wilderness
      locations and is not threatening any structures.
      There have been no injuries in any of the Washington fires.

      (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
      Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
      Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

      *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
      On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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      • #4
        July 14th

        YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - A dangerous wildfire 20 miles west of here
        held steady at about 2,000 acres on Monday and residents who had to
        leave 20 homes last Friday were allowed to return, fire officials
        said.
        About 500 firefighters had contained some 30 percent of the
        Middle Fork wildfire near Tampico, fire spokesman Dale Warriner
        said. No structures have burned, he said.
        The fire is burning in densely timbered slopes in the Cascade
        Range. It is the most dangerous of several Washington state
        wildfires that cover some 25,000 acres, officials said. No injuries
        have been reported in any of the fires.
        Residents of another 150 homes in the area remained on notice
        that they might have to evacuate, Warriner said.
        "There is still an active fire on the hill there," he said.
        "We want to err on the side of caution."
        Fifteen of 25 fire engines brought from other communities to
        protect homes in the Tampico area will be released Tuesday morning,
        Warriner said. Ten engines will remain to protect homes.
        Warriner said there is some suspicion that fireworks started the
        fire, but the cause has not been determined.
        Elsewhere in Washington, the remote Farewell Creek fire near the
        Pasayten Wilderness continued to burn Monday in the northcentral
        part of the state, but firefighters were confident they would get
        the upper hand.
        The fire was 10 percent contained Monday afternoon and has
        burned over 12,502 acres, Warriner said. No structures were
        threatened and none had burned.
        Crews spent much of Monday building more lines to prevent the
        fire's spread to the east and northeast. Firefighters hope to
        prevent the flames from crossing the Chewuch River on the east,
        information officer Tom Knappenberger said.
        "We're still pretty cautious because of the terrain and the
        heat," Knappenberger said. "There's a lot of work to be done on
        the fire yet."
        The Rattlesnake Canyon fire on the Colville Indian Reservation
        near Spokane was 90 percent contained Monday and crews were
        demobilizing and heading out, said Troy Kinghorn, fire information
        officer. That fire burned 10,600 acres and destroyed one summer
        residence.

        (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
        Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
        Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

        *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
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        • #5
          July 16th

          OKANOGAN, Wash. (AP) - Seven or eight homes burned Wednesday and
          dozens more were threatened by a wildfire in this northcentral
          Washington town, officials said.
          The fire started behind Okanogan High School on Wednesday
          afternoon and moved quickly up a hillside, said Okanogan County
          Sheriff's Sgt. Jennifer Johnson.
          "Every fire department in the county is on the scene or en
          route," Johnson said.
          There have been no injuries, she added.
          Residents of dozens of homes were evacuated. The Red Cross set
          up a shelter at the United Methodist Church downtown.
          Mark Clemens of the state Emergency Operations Center in Olympia
          said seven or eight homes had been destroyed, and the 150-acre fire
          was threatening at least 30 other homes on a hillside above the
          town of 2,000 people.
          More than 125 firefighters and 45 engines and water tenders from
          outside Okanogan County were dispatched to assist beleaguered local
          firefighters, Clemens said. They included fire crews from the
          Wenatchee and Tri-Cities areas.
          An airplane from the Bureau of Indian Affairs was dropping fire
          retardant around homes, Johnson said.
          Okanogan is about 50 miles south of the Canadian border, far
          from the state's population centers.
          Residents on Wednesday night were asked not to use water to
          preserve the resource for firefighters.
          The cause of the fire was not known.
          The fire started on a grassy hillside and moved quickly uphill
          to a neighborhood of upscale homes overlooking the town, Deputy
          City Clerk Betty Anderson said.
          Sheriff Frank Rogers said firefighters were overwhelmed in the
          opening minutes by the wind-whipped flames.
          "We went to the top and it was within 10 minutes (of
          starting)," Rogers said. "We were trying to protect the house,
          and it went over our heads and onto the roof. It was just
          incredible."
          Sheriff's deputies pitched in to fight the fire.
          "A lot of us have heat stroke right now," Rogers said.
          "There are several rows of houses on a hill and it took them
          down one at a time," said witness Brenda Crowell. "I've never
          seen anything burn that fast."
          The flames were not posing any danger to the downtown area,
          Anderson said.
          Elsewhere in Washington, the remote Farewell Creek fire near the
          Pasayten Wilderness continued to burn, also in the northcentral
          part of the state.
          The lightning-caused fire was 35 percent contained Wednesday and
          has burned over 15,750 acres, spokesman Mike Ferris said. No
          structures were threatened and none had burned.
          About 500 firefighters had contained about 70 percent of the
          Middle Fork wildfire in the densely forested eastern slopes of the
          Cascade Range near Tampico, west of Yakima, fire spokesman Dale
          Warriner said. That fire has burned about 2,000 acres, but no
          structures were destroyed.
          Warriner said some believe fireworks started the Middle Fork
          fire.

          (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
          Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
          Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

          *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
          On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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          • #6
            July 17th

            By CHRIS RODKEY
            Associated Press Writer
            OKANOGAN, Wash. (AP) - It was three weeks ago Thursday that
            Jackie Bradley's husband, Bob, died of a heart attack on the front
            lawn of their home.
            Now that elegant house is a smoldering pile of ashes on a
            hillside above the town of Okanogan.
            Bradley's home and five others were destroyed when a wildfire
            leaped through their neighborhood Wednesday afternoon. Fueled by
            dry brush and gusting winds, the fire also seriously damaged two
            other homes in this north-central Washington community of about
            2,000 people, located 50 miles south of the Canadian border.
            "We lived here 25 years," Bradley said, crying and embracing
            her friends and neighbors Thursday morning. "This is where my
            roots are."
            No injuries were reported. Firefighters continued battling
            flare-ups caused by 20 mph winds on Thursday.
            Elsewhere in Washington, the remote Farewell Creek fire nearly
            doubled in size overnight, to 31,971 acres, straying north into the
            Pasayten Wilderness west of Okanogan.
            The fire, started by lightning June 29, was 35 percent contained
            Thursday despite the expansion, which was attributed to wind, dry
            fuel conditions and steep country.
            No structures were threatened by the Farewell Creek fire and
            none has burned.
            "When the wind pushed it, it raced up the hills ... and covered
            a lot of ground," said Mike Ferris with the National Incident
            Management Team.
            Spokesman Steve Butterworth said earlier that firefighters were
            limited in the tactics they can use in wilderness areas.
            The 350-acre fire that burned the Okanogan homes was
            human-caused, and Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said
            Thursday that officers were looking at a "person of interest." He
            did not provide details.
            Okanogan damage estimates will likely top $1 million.
            Dozens of other houses were threatened before firefighters,
            aided by aircraft dropping retardant, contained the fire Wednesday
            evening, Rogers said.
            When flames approached her home, Bradley grabbed what she could:
            some pictures, four dresses, and the flag she received when her
            husband, a former Marine, was buried. She also took her cat,
            Powderpuff.
            "It's been real hard for Jackie, but she has a lot of
            support," said friend Lynette Grandy, who stayed by Bradley's
            side.
            Just down Crestview Drive, Richard Manning pulled in to his
            driveway and saw his house for the first time since he left it when
            it was burning.
            When asked if he was able to save anything, he replied,
            "nothing," and took a slow drink from a coffee mug donated by a
            friend.
            Manning hadn't rummaged through the rubble, waiting until his
            wife, Elaine, could return from a trip to Seattle. But as he
            gestured over the debris, he said, "Quite obviously there's going
            to be nothing left."
            Manning, a former school speech pathologist, built the house in
            1972 and moved in with his wife, a retired school teacher.
            "My son said he's lost all of his memories," Manning said.
            "That's kind of hard to deal with."
            Manning saw the flames start partway down the hill. He and his
            son rushed to his neighbor's house, fearing the flames would hit
            there first. But when he turned around, the flames were at his
            doorstep.
            "I opened the back door and the windows were shattering and the
            glass was flying," he said. "There was no way to get in the
            house."
            The smoke had cleared and the sky was bright blue when Manning
            returned to survey the damage Thursday.
            "It's harder to deal with this morning than it was last
            night," he said. "Now you've got to deal with reality."
            Bob and Trish Butler looked at the remains of Gary and Barb
            Christensen's house from their backyard. Flames had singed the
            trees between the two properties.
            "We were really worried," Trish Butler said. "Five more
            minutes and we probably would have lost it."
            The Christensens were on vacation when the fire hit. A neighbor
            was able to save a cat from their house.
            Butler said she and her husband will replace the cedar shake
            roof that covered their home. Most of the homes burned in the blaze
            had cedar shakes, which very quickly catch fire.
            Another wildfire west of Yakima, the Middle Fork fire, has been
            fully contained, spokeswoman Betty Blodgett said.
            There were 463 firefighters still assigned to the 2,100-acre
            blaze near Tampico on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range, but
            they will be released starting this weekend, she said. No
            structures were destroyed. Officials have said fireworks are
            suspected as the cause.

            (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
            Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
            Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

            *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
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            • #7
              7/20

              CHENEY, Wash. (AP) - A new wildfire burned through about 1,000
              acres of timber and grasslands Sunday in a rural area near here,
              burning some buildings and forcing people to leave their homes.
              About 15 to 20 homes were evacuated, said Fire Chief Bruce
              Holloway of Spokane County Fire District 3.
              Crews from around Spokane County were joined by state Department
              of Natural Resources crews fighting the blaze. Holloway said some
              structures had burned but he did not know whether they were houses
              or outbuildings.
              The fire was burning about five miles southwest of Cheney at the
              intersection of Watt and Ritchey roads, he said. The cause of the
              blaze was not known.
              The Cheney fire was among several wildfires burning Sunday in
              central and eastern Washington amid dry conditions. Temperatures
              were in the 90s, and expected to reach as high as 103 degrees in
              Eastern Washington on Monday and possibly up to 107 on Tuesday.
              There were no reports of injuries in any of the fires.
              North of Winthrop, the Farewell Creek fire - biggest in the
              state - was estimated Sunday at 48,156 acres. The acreage was more
              than 12,000 acres higher than previously reported because of better
              mapping.
              "They had just flown around it with a helicopter to do the best
              they could," said Kris Eriksen, spokeswoman for the Farewell Creek
              fire management team. "It's been growing over the last three days,
              but we had only done fly-by estimates."
              Nine homes south of the blaze were no longer threatened, since
              the fire was burning north and northeast. Crews cleared brush and
              burned fire lines around the homes several days ago, Eriksen said.
              Firefighters wrapped three cabins in remote areas of the
              Pasayten Wilderness with fire-proofing material, Eriksen said.
              The fire was about 35 percent contained, burning in heavy timber
              and sub-alpine fir. The southern flank of the fire was about 13
              miles north of Winthrop. Its northern edge was about 8½ miles south
              of the Canadian border. The fire was started by lightning June 29.
              Northwest of Spokane, a fire on the Colville Indian Reservation
              continued to threaten 37 homes Sunday evening. Seven of the homes
              had been evacuated, said Mauragrace Healey of the Northwest
              Interagency Fire Coordination Center in Portland, Ore.
              The McGinnis Flats fire had burned 1,030 acres and was 40
              percent contained, she said.
              Ground crews were being assisted by retardant-dropping tankers
              and helicopters as they fought the blaze in mixed timber and grass.
              The fire, which had burned two outbuildings, was believed to be
              human-caused, although it remained under investigation, Healey
              said.
              Firefighters had the 250-acre Elephant Head fire northwest of
              Ellensburg fully contained, Healey said. It started Friday night,
              and while the cause remained under investigation, it was suspicious
              in origin, said Marc Hollen of the fire coordination agency.



              (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
              Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
              Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

              *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
              On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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              • #8
                7/21

                By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
                Associated Press Writer
                Fire crews battling three wildfires in Eastern Washington braced
                for temperatures expected to soar as high as 104.
                Progress has been made on a wildfire west of Cheney, southwest
                of Spokane. The Watt Road fire continued to threaten 36 structures,
                but was 40 percent contained Monday night, said Josie Williams of
                the Washington Incident Management Team.
                It has destroyed 14 vehicles and seven outbuildings.
                That fire, plus fires near Keller in northeast Washington and in
                the Pasayten Wilderness along the Canadian border, had consumed
                more than 50,000 acres and were being fought by more than 1,700
                firefighters.
                The largest blaze was the Farewell Creek fire, last estimated at
                48,162 acres, burning virtually unchecked in the Pasayten
                Wilderness. That fire grew Monday, enlarging mainly on the west
                flank, but fire spokesmen said conditions were so smoky they would
                have to wait for results of an infrared overflight to provide a new
                acreage figure.
                There have been no injuries or major property losses on any of
                the fires.
                For the 466 firefighters working the 1,700-acre McGinnis Flats
                fire on the Colville Indian Reservation near Keller on Monday,
                "staying hydrated is their main concern," said Noel Hardin, fire
                spokesman.
                The fire continued to threaten more than 30 homes, and had
                destroyed two outbuildings. It also was 40 percent contained.
                The Watt Road wildfire roared to life Sunday.
                One of the vehicles it destroyed was a fire truck whose crew had
                parked in what they thought was a safe place and headed toward the
                fire,
                A sudden shift in winds caused the flames to burn over the fire
                truck on Sunday, destroying it, Williams said.
                The Watt Road fire was downsized from 1,300 acres to 1,060 acres
                Monday because of more accurate mapping, she said.
                On the Farewell Creek fire, spokesman Steve Butterworth said,
                "It's hot. It's dry and it's windy."
                That fire was only about one-third contained by fire lines.
                Farewell Creek fire commanders, who had been working from a base
                near Winthrop, on Monday established a second command post near
                Tonasket on the east side of the fire to open a second front,
                Butterworth said.
                That step was taken because "the fire is growing more complex
                and large."
                Butterworth urged anyone headed into the backcountry on the west
                side of the fire to talk to local rangers for the most up-to-date
                information. Fire officials were comfortable with the backcountry
                closures they have in place on the east side, he said.
                Even though more than 1,000 firefighters are on the blaze, the
                primary effort has been from the air, he said. That's because there
                are no roads or escape routes in the steep terrain of the
                wilderness, he said.
                David Widmark of the federal Interagency Coordination Center in
                Portland, Ore., said a concern now is that the fire will burn
                across the border into Canada.
                Widmark said meetings were taking place to decide whether U.S.
                or Canadian firefighters should take the lead in that event.
                The fire is burning in heavy timber. The southern flank of the
                fire was about 13 miles north of Winthrop on Monday. Its northern
                edge was about 8 miles south of the Canadian border. The fire was
                started by lightning on June 29.
                The McGinnis Flats fire, which started July 18, was believed to
                be human-caused. It remained under investigation.
                The Watt Road fire was burning in timber and grass. The cause
                was under investigation.
                ---
                On The Web:
                Northwest Interagency Fire Coordination Center:
                www.or.blm.gov/nwcc/

                (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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                • #9
                  US/Canada

                  By JIM COUR
                  Associated Press Writer
                  SEATTLE (AP) - If the Farewell Creek fire in northcentral
                  Washington crosses into Canada as expected, U.S. firefighters will
                  join forces with Canadian firefighters to battle it.
                  "We have a strong relationship with our Canadian fire
                  management and agency administrators," Darrel Kenops, acting
                  supervisor of the Okanogan and Wenatchee national forests, told The
                  Associated Press on Tuesday. "We meet every year to talk about
                  these sorts of things."
                  The fire was started by lightning June 29 in the upper Methow
                  Valley north of Winthrop. By Tuesday, the north edge of the fire
                  was about five miles from the Canadian border, the Wenatchee-based
                  Kenops told a Seattle news conference.
                  Also present were state Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland and
                  Linda Goodman, U.S. Forest Service regional forester from Portland,
                  Ore.
                  The cost of fighting the Farewell Creek fire so far is $17
                  million, with the total expected to go far higher, Goodman said.
                  The primary costs are the helicopters that drop water and
                  retardant and labor costs for about 1,000 firefighters, who are
                  working in 20-person crews in 12- to 14-hour shifts, the fire
                  officials said.
                  Washington state's largest wildfire so far this season was also
                  threatening to spread from the Pasayten Wilderness east into the
                  Loomis State Forest, which is state Department of Natural Resources
                  land. It was 10 miles west of the Loomis Forest on Tuesday,
                  Sutherland said.
                  "If we can't control this fire, it could move all the way over
                  into the valley area here, which would include probably another
                  60,000 to 75,000 acres of forested land," Sutherland said.
                  Kenops said two British Columbia fire management officials
                  attended a fire briefing Sunday night in Twisp.
                  "They've been reflecting on strategy if it does come across the
                  border," he said. "So we've been talking about how we can work
                  together."
                  Kenops wants to get permission from the Canadians for U.S.
                  helicopters to begin making water drops on the Canadian side of the
                  border. Four heavy-lift helicopters, four medium helicopters and
                  three lighter helicopters have been dropping water on the fire on
                  the U.S. side.
                  "So we can come at it from Canada," he said. "That's what
                  we're looking for."
                  The firefighters are battling the Farewell Creek blaze in higher
                  mountain elevations, but they're still working in 90-degree-plus
                  temperatures. The fire is burning heavy timber, including Douglas
                  fir.
                  Goodman and Sutherland said the worst may be yet to come in the
                  Northwest's fire season.
                  "We've already had unprecedented fires in Oregon and Washington
                  this year," Goodman said. "We're going to see more, I'm afraid."
                  Sutherland said fire officials had been warned by National
                  Weather Service forecasters that no significant rainfall is
                  expected in the next 30 days.
                  "It's dry right now and it's going to continue to be dry," he
                  said. "So what we're looking at is not only Eastern Washington,
                  where we do have some major fires, but also we have significant
                  issues to be aware of on the west side of the mountains."

                  (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                  Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                  Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                  *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                  On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Farewell Fire

                    By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
                    Associated Press Writer
                    The nearly 59,000-acre Farewell Creek fire in northcentral
                    Washington is generating winds so strong they can rip trees out by
                    the roots and throw them ahead of the flames, officials said
                    Wednesday.
                    It will probably require snow or heavy rain later this year to
                    extinguish the flames in the wilderness inferno, fire spokesman
                    Steve Butterworth said.
                    "It is highly likely this fire will not be contained by
                    anything we can do," Butterworth said.
                    "We see no weather coming in the foreseeable future that would
                    slow the fire," Butterworth said. "The fire is going to continue
                    to grow."
                    Three wildfires burning now in Washington have consumed about
                    62,000 acres in all, but no homes have been lost and no major
                    injuries have been reported.
                    Fire districts in Eastern Washington were issued a warning
                    Tuesday by the National Weather Service that extremely low
                    humidity, high temperatures and winds gusting to 30 mph in the
                    region have increased the danger of wildfires.
                    The Farewell Creek fire is generating plumes of smoke that can
                    be seen from space. The fire is also generating winds so turbulent
                    that burning fuel is being thrown three-quarters of a mile in front
                    of the flames, Butterworth said.
                    Because the fire is burning in the Pasayten Wilderness near the
                    Canadian border, where motorized vehicles are prohibited, the fire
                    on that northern front is being fought only from the air,
                    Butterworth said.
                    Ground forces will not be used because a lack of roads in
                    wilderness areas means there is no escape route for the
                    firefighters, Butterworth said.
                    But ground forces would not make a difference, because normal
                    fire barriers like creeks, roads or manmade trails could not stop
                    flames of this size, he said.
                    "This fire is going to chew away at the wilderness,"
                    Butterworth said.
                    Officials in the United States officially warned their
                    counterparts in Canada on Wednesday that the flames were 5 miles
                    from the border and headed in their direction, Butterworth said.
                    "The U.S.-Canadian border will not be sufficient to stop this
                    fire," Butterworth said.
                    The fire was started by lightning June 29, and so far has cost
                    about $19 million to fight by more than 1,100 firefighters. They
                    are working primarily to keep the flames contained within the
                    wilderness boundaries, using backfires and retardant drops.
                    The fire was estimated at 58,734 acres Wednesday night, said
                    fire spokeswoman Deanna Raskovich.
                    Environmental groups praised the efforts of firefighters who are
                    letting the flames burn.
                    "The Forest Service deserves kudos for placing a priority on
                    protecting people and property and not pouring resources into the
                    backcountry where fire is natural and unavoidable," said Mitch
                    Friedman of the Northwest Ecosystem Alliance.
                    Elsewhere in Washington, a dozen huge hay stacks belonging to
                    Anderson Hay & Grain caught fire Tuesday afternoon near Ellensburg,
                    with the smoke visible for miles. No injuries were reported.
                    The fire destroyed an estimated 10,000 tons of hay, worth more
                    than $1 million. Kittitas County officials said the fire appeared
                    to be accidentally caused by workers using leaf blowers in the
                    area.
                    A fire burning on the Colville Indian Reservation north of
                    Keller was at 2,217 acres Wednesday night, and was 55 percent
                    contained. There were 638 firefighters on the line, fire spokesman
                    Noel Hardin said.
                    The McGinnis Flats fire started on July 18 and initial
                    investigation has determined that it was human caused. The fire has
                    cost $1.8 million to fight and containment is expected on Saturday.
                    No homes have burned but two outbuildings have been lost.
                    The 1,064-acre Watt Road fire southwest of Cheney, near Spokane,
                    was 80 percent contained Wednesday night, said fire spokesman Mike
                    Chandler.
                    ---
                    On The Web:
                    Northwest Interagency Fire Coordination Center:
                    www.or.blm.gov/nwcc/

                    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      July 24, 2003

                      TONASKET, Wash. (AP) - Gov. Gary Locke marveled Thursday at the
                      size of the Farewell Creek wildfire, saying plumes of smoke rose
                      higher than his airplane.
                      Locke flew over the 58,734-acre fire, largest in the state, and
                      stopped at a fire command post at Tonasket Middle School.
                      "It was just an incredible sight," Locke said. "The smoke
                      column was higher than our plane and there were dozens and dozens
                      of fires."
                      A crew of firefighters shook hands with Locke as he entered the
                      building.
                      "All you guys here, I appreciate your hard work," he told the
                      firefighters. "Hang in there, keep safe, make sure your crews keep
                      safe."
                      Three major wildfires burning in Washington have swept across
                      more than 62,000 acres but there have been no serious injuries or
                      homes lost.
                      The fire near the Canadian border is growing in heavy timber,
                      said Mark Morris, a deputy forest supervisor for the
                      Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
                      It is getting so large that it will take a "season-ending
                      event" - typically an early winter snowfall - to fully put out the
                      flames, Morris said.
                      "This is not going to be a quick 'put in a bulldozer line, put
                      out the fire,"' said Bob Anderson, an incident commander. "This
                      is going to burn for three months before it's out."
                      The fire has also shifted into a drier area of the Pasayten
                      Wilderness, where trees at the end of their 80-year life span have
                      been naturally killed by disease and insects, Morris said. The last
                      fires there occurred in 1929 and 1930.
                      Officials from the British Columbia Forest Service met with U.S.
                      officials Thursday since the blaze is just a few miles from the
                      border. It threatens British Columbia's Cathedral Provincial Park
                      and Snowy Provincial Park.
                      "Fires don't recognize borders," said Denis Gaudry, manager of
                      the Kamloops Fire Center in British Columbia.
                      Canadian crews may join U.S. firefighters as the blaze gets
                      closer, he said.
                      "We have a very close working relationship with the folks down
                      here," Gaudry said, adding officials hope the fire will stop at
                      natural mountain barriers of rock and bare land.
                      Locke told fire managers he would provide whatever resources
                      Washington state could offer, including extra crews and money.
                      On the east, the fire is currently approaching the Loomis State
                      Forest, a 136,000-acre reserve owned by the state. Money from
                      logging the forest is used to build schools in the state.
                      "Whatever the fire commanders need or want they'll get," Locke
                      said. "They have full control."
                      About 200 of the approximately 1,100 firefighters on the
                      Farewell Creek fire right now are from the state Department of
                      Natural Resources, many of them inmate crews, said Todd Myers, a
                      spokesman for state Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland's office.
                      Should the fire move into the Loomis Forest, it would be moving
                      closer to communities and working forests and thus the total number
                      of firefighters would likely increase, Myers said. State crews
                      would be a part of that, he said.
                      Locke said he was impressed with the way the fire management
                      team was cooperating. When he first started coming to fires,
                      different government agencies seemed to be battling each other more
                      than they fought the blaze, he said.
                      "In all my years going to various forest fires, I've noticed
                      the change," he said.
                      Because the fire is burning in a wilderness area, where
                      motorized vehicles are prohibited, the northern front is being
                      fought only from the air.
                      Ground forces are deployed around the perimeter of the
                      wilderness, hoping to keep the flames inside.
                      The fire was started by lightning June 29, and so far has cost
                      about $19 million to fight.
                      The two other wildfires in Eastern Washington aren't nearly as
                      worrisome.
                      A fire on the Colville Indian Reservation north of Keller
                      remained at 2,217 acres, and was 60 percent contained Thursday.
                      There were 638 firefighters on the line, fire spokesman Noel Hardin
                      said.
                      The McGinnis Flats fire started July 18 and initial
                      investigation has determined that it was human caused. The 1,064-acre Watt Road
                      fire southwest of Cheney, near Spokane,
                      was 90 percent contained Thursday, fire spokeswoman Josie Williams
                      said.
                      ---
                      On the Net:
                      Northwest Interagency Fire Coordination Center:
                      www.or.blm.gov/nwcc/

                      (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                      Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                      Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                      *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                      On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Contract Crews?

                        Do you know of any contract crews in eastern Washington?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I do not...however, there may be someone among the forums, who is in a better position to answer that question.

                          Any takers? Someone in the Northwest?
                          Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                          Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                          *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                          On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            7/28/03

                            (Undated-AP) -- A new wildfire west of Ellensburg has prompted
                            evacuations of about 38 homes tonight.
                            The so-called Highway 10 Fire began late this afternoon along
                            Highway 10 and the North Fork Highway.
                            The state Emergency Management Division says the evacuated homes
                            are southeast of the town of Thorp.
                            The fire is estimated to have burned about 300 acres so far,
                            with winds of about 25 miles per hour.

                            (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                            Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                            Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                            *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                            On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              More info

                              By JOHN K. WILEY
                              Associated Press Writer
                              A new Kittitas County wildfire on the east slopes of the Cascade
                              Mountains prompted the evacuation of about 38 homes Monday night, a
                              Washington state emergency management spokesman said.
                              The fire southeast of Thorp, west of Ellensburg, broke out
                              Monday afternoon and had burned 300 acres by Monday night,
                              spokesman Rob Harper said.
                              The fire was reported 90 percent contained by late Monday night,
                              and evacuees were gathered at a nearby staging area, awaiting the
                              all-clear to return to their homes, he said.
                              No injuries were reported and no structures were burned by the
                              fire, which burned brush, timber and agricultural land.
                              Kittitas County and state firefighters were battling the fire
                              and additional fire units were dispatched from nearby counties,
                              Harper said.
                              The blaze prompted the temporary closure of a section of Highway
                              10 Monday night. The state highway runs north of Interstate 90 in
                              the area.
                              Earlier Monday, a separate brush fire near Cle Elum, a few miles
                              west of Thorp, forced the Washington State Patrol to close the
                              westbound lanes of Interstate 90 about 85 miles east of Seattle for
                              about an hour.
                              In other Washington wildfire news, an elite Canadian
                              firefighting crew was preparing to help fight a wildfire that is
                              slowly burning toward the international border. However, safety
                              concerns on Monday postponed the crew's arrival.
                              "We're working on it today. There are a lot of logistics and
                              safety considerations," Farewell Fire spokeswoman Kristi Covington
                              said. "We're hoping for tomorrow, but that could change at any
                              time."
                              Officials had expected the 20-member Canadian hotshot crew to
                              join the firefighting efforts on Monday, but the crew members'
                              arrival in Washington was delayed by planning to ensure safety
                              zones and escape routes, Covington said.
                              More than 1,200 people were working the 69,962-acre fire north
                              of Winthrop and east of Loomis on the eastern slopes of the Cascade
                              Range in northcentral Washington state.
                              American hotshot teams were preparing to battle the fire at two
                              mountain passes inside the Pasayten Wilderness, about five miles
                              south of the border, hoping to slow or stop the fire's spread
                              toward Canada.
                              Plans called for the 20-member Canadian team to join 60 U.S.
                              hotshots preparing to make a stand on the fire's northwest flank.
                              "If we can't hold it there, the fire will probably continue its
                              run toward Canada along the Ashnola River drainage," fire
                              spokesman Kent Romney said.
                              The lightning-caused fire remained about 35 percent contained on
                              Monday, with firebreaks mainly along the southern portions outside
                              the wilderness.
                              Most of the fire has burned within the 530,000-acre wilderness,
                              which has no roads. Firefighting efforts there have been largely
                              restricted to helicopters dropping water and retardant chemicals.
                              The American and Canadian hotshots were to be the first crews on
                              the fire lines inside the wilderness, fire spokesmen said.
                              Crews were building two 6,000-gallon portable pools so
                              helicopters could fill buckets or siphon retardant mixture without
                              having to fly so far to refill, Romney said.
                              One of the "heli-wells" was being built about 1.5 miles north
                              of the border in Canada, Romney said.
                              Canadian crews are no strangers to firefighting efforts south of
                              the border, Mauragrace Healey of the Northwest Interagency
                              Coordination Center in Portland, Ore., said Monday.
                              There were 47 Canadian crews in the Pacific Northwest last year,
                              she said. She said she believed the 20 Canadian hotshot crew
                              members would be the first in the Northwest this season.
                              "It's not uncommon when Canada has an especially fierce fire
                              season that we help them out and, conversely, they help us out when
                              we need it," she said.
                              Regulations say that when a fire gets within five miles of the
                              international border, crews from either side of the line can fight
                              it, she said.
                              Mopup continued Monday inside the McGinnis Flats fire on the
                              Colville Indian Reservation, which produced the first fatality of
                              this fire season in Washington state.
                              The National Transportation Safety Board finished its on-scene
                              investigation Monday of the helicopter crash on the 2,233-acre fire
                              near Keller, spokesman Steve McCreary said from the agency's
                              regional office in Seattle.
                              Helicopter pilot Randall Harmon, 44, of Grants Pass, Ore., died
                              Friday while dropping water on the fire from a Kaman K-1200
                              helicopter.
                              Authorities hoped to recover key pieces of wreckage by the end
                              of the week, McCreary said.
                              It is too early to determine a preliminary cause and could take
                              six months or more before a cause is determined, he said.
                              There have been no serious injuries from any of the other
                              wildfires that have burned this summer in Washington. Those fires
                              have charred more than 90,000 acres.
                              The McGinnis Flats fire started July 18 and was being fought by
                              more than 600 firefighters. Investigators said the fire, which was
                              about 70 percent trailed, was caused by humans and had cost more
                              than $4.2 million to fight.
                              ---
                              On the Net:
                              Northwest Interagency Fire Coordination Center:
                              www.or.blm.gov/nwcc/
                              Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest: www.fs.fed.us/r6/oka
                              Farewell Creek fire: www.fawnpeak.com
                              Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                              Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                              *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                              On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                              Comment

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