Firefighters still struggling to contain 13.5001 acre Palmer Firefight

The Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville, has grown to 13,500 acres.

Source: InciWeb - Incident Information System

OROVILLE – The Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville, has grown to 13,050 acres and is currently listed as zero percent contained, according to the Northwest Incident Management Team 6.

The fire, which was first reported in the area of Washburn Lake Road on the afternoon of Tuesday, Aug. 18, quickly spread and has led to the loss of homes and other structures and Level 3 evacuations in the fire area. There are 298 personnel currently fighting the fire. The cause is still listed as unknown.

Firefighters working overnight made significant progress conducting burn-out operations in the vicinity of Wannacut Lake and around Palmer Lake lodge, said Shawn Sheldon, Incident Commander in a release this morning.

“Today crews are focus on mopping-up hot spots and structure protection while reinforcing and improving fire lines. More burn-out operations may happen, but this will be dependent on favorable weather conditions and wind direction. This afternoon, a cold front is forecast to arrive over the fire bringing strong wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour, challenging the strength of fire lines. National Guard helicopters will continue to support the fire with water drops,” said the update.

Assigned resources include four Type 1 crews, seven Type 2 crews, three helicopters, 24 engines, 11 water tenders and eight dozers.

Several fixed-wing aircraft are also dropping water on the fire. The planes were filling with water at Osoyoos Lake in Oroville due to high winds in the Loomis area making it harder to fill at Palmer Lake.

The following roads remained closed to all but emergency vehicles

  • Wannacut Lake Rd. at Ellemeham Mountain Rd.
  • Ellis Barns Rd. at Loomis-Oroville Rd.
  • Blue Lake Rd. at Lake Front Rd.
  • Washburn Lake Rd. at Loomis-Oroville Rd. to Ellis Barnes Rd.
  • Ellemeham Mtn Rd. to Ellis Barnes Rd.
  • Loomis-Oroville Rd. from Toats Coulee to Chopaka Rd.

All previous evacuation levels remain in place.

Level 3 Evacuations (leave immediately):

  • Wannacut Lake Road (east) from Washburn to Ellemeham Mtn. Road.
  • Toats Coulee Road to Chopaka Road, along the Loomis-Oroville Road

Level 2 Evacuations (be ready to leave):

  • Ellemeham Mtn. Road from Ellis Barns Road to Loomis-Oroville Road

“Our highest priority is the safety of the public and all wildland fire personnel. To keep firefighters and communities healthy and safe during the Palmer Fire, all fire personnel are expected to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes COVID-19 specific recommendations like social distancing, use of face masks, and limiting public access to the Incident Command Post (ICP),” said Sheldon.

Residents under evacuation are being notified by the Okanogen Country Sheriff’s Department. Evacuation levels may quickly expand. Leave immediately if you see fire in the area. Do not wait for an evacuation notice. You may contact the Red Cross at 509-670-5331 for assistance if you have evacuated your home. For information on livestock evacuations, please contact Roger Sawyer at 509-429-8036.

Public use restrictions take effect today and all campfires and shooting of firearms are prohibited. Please visit: https://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/districts/NEWICC/index.html

For fire information call 509-808-6720 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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