White River and Irving Peak Fires Still 1% Contained
Update: August 21, 2022 at 11:01 a.m.
Infrared data came in on the morning of August 20, which showed that the White River fire grew to 900 acres and the Irving Peak fire to 650 acres.
The Irving Peak Fire has spread into the Panther Creek watershed and into the saddles of Wenatchee Ridge.
Don Ferguson with Northwest Team 7 said Sunday’s fire conditions will be low to moderate.
They have also assessed over 430 structures near Lake Wenatchee.
It is currently not safe for crews to access the fire directly due to the inaccessible and steep terrain. Instead, Ferguson's team will continue clearing the roads in case they need to use them for fire lines.
Number of personnel have grown to roughly 600 people, with 16 helicopters.
During the August 18th fire meeting at the Lake Wenatchee Rec Center, Northwest Team 7 informed residents on how limited they are with fire retardant use. They explained that due to neighboring endangered salmon and owl populations near the fires, they are limited to water dropping on most areas.
Original: August 19, 2022 at 11:24 a.m.
Both the White River and Irving Peak fires are 1% contained, with roughly 1,000 acres burned.
The fires haven't moved or grown much since they were first identified about a week ago
Favorable conditions with clouds and humidity have kept the fires from spreading, but Don Ferguson with Northwest Team 7 says that could change quickly.
"I think there's a lot of potential for the fires to grow," said Ferguson. "There's such limited opportunity to get near them, especially the Irving Peak Fire with all that wilderness ahead of it."
Both fires are on steep terrain in wooded areas, and are only being attacked through the air because of their remote locations about 15 miles northeast of Plain.
Ferguson says the lack of access to the fires means crews have to change course and prepare for the fires to get to them.
"Where we're putting all our labor is in getting those roads ready to serve as fire lines, if and when we need them," Ferguson said. "If we have to burn out from a road to create a fire barrier, then we want those roads to be ready for easy, safe access for firefighters, and get the brush away from the sides of the roads, so the road can be an effective fire line."
There are also more than 100 homes and buildings in the area that firefighters are working to protect. Ferguson says they're making assessments that could require sprinkler systems or clearing brush so fire engines can have easy access to homes.
More than 450 personnel are currently stationed at the fires, even though they're only being attacked through the air with aircraft dropping water.
Ferguson says there's concern about being limited to air response only because aircraft can't fly when there's heavy smoke. Smoke and haze limited some air operations Thursday.
Evacuations for the White River and Irving Peak fires: Chelan County Sheriff's office has issued a Level 3 evacuation (Go Now) for Sears Creek Road, White River Road is at a Level 2 (Be Prepared), and Little Wenatchee Road is at a Level 1 (Stay Alert). Emergency personnel are in the process of advising residents in the area. Residents of five homes were evacuated from the Sears Creek Area.
The White River and Irving Peak Fires were started by lightning on August 11.