The Forest Service has critical updates regarding the much-publicized Pioneer Fire.

On June 8, the Pioneer Fire got underway in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Area, about 31 miles northwest of Chelan. The fire has since ballooned to 7,180 acres.

Scores of personnel - 558, to be precise - are actively working to contain the blaze. It is now 14% contained.

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The Pioneer Fire is believed to have been human-triggered, but details remain sketchy. The exact cause is under investigation.

According to a Forest Service press release, "Fire managers are using a full-suppression strategy to protect private property, public infrastructure, and natural and recreation resources, while minimizing risks to responders and the public."

"Part of the rationale for a full-suppression strategy is that the origin of the fire was on private land, and it is suspected to have been human caused. Additionally, while much of the fire area is within wilderness, if the fire were to spread significantly, it could affect population centers."

"High temperatures and low relative humidity increased fire behavior yesterday on the north side of the fire near Meadow Creek and on the south side near Prince Creek. On the south flank, fire made a run down-lake along Lake Chelan to Lone Fir Creek and upslope into drainages between Prince Creek and Lone Fir Creek."

"In other parts of the fire area, crews strengthened fire lines and point protections. Near Stehekin, they will lay more hose lines today, working up from Rainbow Falls. Firefighters will also continue improving the lines along Nelson Butte and Coyote Ridge down to the lake. Mastication continued along Gold Creek Road and along the divide east of Lake Chelan."

"Boats continued to deliver firefighters and equipment throughout the fire area. Today’s weather forecast has all the ingredients for more active fire behavior. Increased fire spread is likely where wind and terrain align."

"Firefighters will continue to use aircraft to drop water while ground crews build and strengthen fire lines and water systems. Firefighters will also continue securing structures along the lake shore both up lake and down lake, especially near Canoe Creek."

What follows was gleaned from the Pioneer Fire webpage.

Weather: The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for well into next week and a red flag warning for Saturday. Today’s heat may break records in Stehekin and Chelan. Fire managers expect increased fire behavior and potential spread. Smoke is likely to travel over the Chelan area. Additional fires in the area, not associated with the Pioneer Fire, are also contributing to smoke. The air quality outlook is at Learn more about smoke at The fire marshal raised fire danger ratings and restrictions. See for more information. 

Evacuations and closures: Due to the increased fire behavior and spread, Chelan County increased evacuation levels. Please visit for more information. The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest has a closure order in place for much of the fire area. Details and maps are available at: Many recreation sites remain open and accessible.

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