Forest Visitors Asked To Be Careful With Current Conditions
The Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest is asking visitors to be especially careful with their activities after the recent stretch of hot and dry weather.
Forest firefighters, along with interagency personnel, have been sent to at least seven wildfires since July 25, which marked the beginning of an eight-day excessive heat warning.
Robin Demario with the National Forest say they're crews have done a great job so far to contain the fires.
"Most of those, they've been able to extinguish at around a tenth of an acre," said DeMario. "And a couple have gotten more, ya know, a little bit larger in size."
The majority of the fires so far in the National Forest have been human caused, with just one started by lightning and two with an undetermined cause.
The Okanogan Wenatchee Forest currently has Stage 2 Restrictions in place, which bans the use of chain saws or the firing of guns, unless hunting laws are being followed.
Demario says all activities should be done with special care during current conditions.
"Whether it's riding a motorcycle, riding a bike, ya know, whatever they're doing we just ask them to be very careful," DeMario said. "Especially if you're towing a boat or trailer or something, make sure that tow chain is not dragging on the ground, causing sparks."
Driving a car or truck off of National Forest System Roads and Trails is also banned under Stage 2 Restrictions.
Catalytic converters operate at high temperatures and can ignite dry brush and gras underneath.
The seven wildfires to start up in the Okanogan National Forest so far this summer are listed below:
- Morse Creek Fire (started on July 30), is now estimated at 21 acres. The fire is burning 40 miles northwest of Naches, WA. The fire is 40% *contained and stayed within its footprint overnight; firefighters are continuing to mop-up and secure firelines. The cause is undetermined.
- Soda Springs Fire (started on August 1), is small, about 1/10 of an acre, and is located 1.5 miles north of Soda Spring Campground (29 miles northwest of Naches, WA) adjacent to the Bumping River. This lightning-caused holdover fire was *contained on August 1 and rappellers assigned to the fire will be hiking out this evening. The fire will be called out once firefighters leave the incident.
- Nile Creek Fire, which started on July 30 as a result of a vehicle fire, is 1/10 acre and has been declared out. The fire was 10 miles northwest of Naches, WA.
- Mineral Fire (started on August 1), is 1/10 acre, and is located in between Keechelus and Kachess Lakes on the Cle Elum Ranger District. This human-caused fire is contained and **controlled, and in patrol status.
- North Scatter Fire (started on July 30) is 1/10 acre. It is contained and controlled, and now in patrol status. Cause--escaped campfire.
- Cooper Pass Fire (started on July 27) is 1/10 acre and near Cooper Lake on the Cle Elum Ranger District, approximately 20 miles northwest of Cle Elum, WA. The fire is contained and controlled. Cause--escaped campfire.
- Fortune Creek Fire (started on July 25), is 1/10 mile and the cause is undetermined. The fire, located 21 miles northwest of Cle Elum, is contained and controlled and in patrol status.