County fires still smolder

New fire near Toroda Creek Road snuffed out at less than 150 acres

OKANOGAN COUNTY – Smoke continued to fill Okanogan County as the Carlton Complex fire in the southern half of the county continued to smolder, though as of Tuesday, Aug. 5, Incident Command had declared the fire 90 percent contained.

Two new fires ignited during the past week, including one near Toroda Mountain about 10 miles northwest of Republic that started on Tuesday, July 29.

That fire topped out at 140 acres, according to the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office. By Wednesday, air support had knocked down the fire. Firefighters completed a bulldozer line around the fire and were engaged in mop-up operations.

The fire forced localized Level 2 and Level 3 evacuations in the West Fort Cougar Creed Road area.

New fire in the Methow

The other new fire of significance added to the continuing fire-related woes in the Methow Valley.

According to the Sheriff’s office, a vehicle towing a trailer traveling west on Highway 20 out of Twisp got a flat tire on the trailer. When the rim hit the roadway it sent up sparks and started a fire in the brush which spread from Signal Hill Road, west over Rising Eagle Road, Hill Road and over to Wandling Road.

The fire destroyed several residences and property. The trailer in question has been impounded by the Okanogan County Sheriffís Office and the Department of Natural Resources Investigators are investigating the fire. As of Tuesday afternoon, Level 2 evacuations were in effect on Upper Bear Creek Rlad and East Chewuch Road, and Pearrygin Lakes State Park was closed.

Carlton Complex update

According to the Tuesday, August 5, InciWeb report on the Carlton Complex, the fire was holding steady at 255,164 acres (including the Rising Eagle Fire referenced above) and was 90 percent contained, with 1,657 personnel on hand for firefighting efforts.

Resources on hand included three Type 1 hand crews, 22 Type 2 hand crews, 12 Type 2 initial attack crews, 100 engines and 27 water tenders. The were bolstered from the air by four Type 1 helicopters, four Type 2 helicopters, five Type 3 helicopters and one air support.

Status and work included line completion on the northwestern portion of the fire near Pearrygin Lake. Crews also worked hard on the western portion of the interior island and the area south of Loup Loup Ski Area to strengthen lines. Two lightning caused fires were located and suppressed along Highway 20 in the Sportmans Camp area. Night crews patrolled various areas of the fire line; doing mop-up as needed.

Operational priorities included: patrol and mop-up the Rising Eagle Road Fire, strengthen the line along the northwest edge (near Pearrygin Lake), and improve interior lines on the western portion of the interior island. The rest of the fire perimeter will be in patrol and mop-up status. Crews are also cleaning up the fire area by returning unneeded equipment and supplies back to the Incident Command Post (ICP).

IC reported that air resources continue to play a vital role in the successful containment of this complex and are also supporting suppression efforts on the Little Bridge Creek Fire and initial attack on new fires. The Temporary Flight Restriction on the south portion of the fire has been lifted to facilitate east/west air travel for other fires and the public.

About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

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