The Pioneer Fire on the shore of Lake Chelan has increased in size to 1,172 acres, up from 672 reported late Tuesday. 

Pioneer Fire - Image from Department of Natural Resources
Pioneer Fire - Image from Department of Natural Resources

The fire is spreading up lake toward Stehekin, which is at the northern end of Lake Chelan. 

Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Ryan Rodruck says wind gusts late Tuesday have led to the growth in the size of the fire. 

"There was a significant wind event," said Rodruck. "The 32 mile as hour gusts that were predicted did materialize, and that did drive fire growth.”  

The next round of high wind gusts is scheduled for this weekend, although they'll come with a cold front and cooler temperatures. 

Rodruck says the upcoming cold front won't likely help in keeping the fire from spreading. 

“Unfortunately, with that cold front is somewhat of a dry front as well," Rodruck said. “So, while cooler temperatures certainly help our firefighters, we will still be keeping a very close eye on fire behavior, especially with that predicted wind.” 

Four helicopters are being used to dump water on the fire, which ignited early last Saturday 

As of Wednesday morning, firefighting efforts on the ground are being led by Incident Commander Brian Gales, Northwest Incident Management Team 13 under the federal Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. 

There are 164 crew members working the fire on the ground. A support camp to meet the needs of firefighters working in remote and rugged locations up lake is being established at Lucerne. 

Chelan County Emergency Management maintains Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation orders for the area around Rex Creek and Level 1 (Be Ready) orders extending from Prince Creek north to Cascade Creek. The Lakeshore Trail is unusable between Prince Creek and Meadow Creek. There are only a handful of buildings in the area. 

Given the complex terrain and current fuel conditions, the fire may persist on the landscape for an extended duration. 

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Gallery Credit: Aly

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