Evacuation notices for Chelan-area brush fire
Originally published July 5, 2012 at 3:10 p.m., updated July 6, 2012 at 6:25 a.m.
CHELAN — A regional management team will be arriving today to take over management of a brush fire west of Chelan that has 33 homes under various levels of evacuation notice, closed the Navarre Coulee Road and temporarily closed Highway 97A on Thursday.
The highway between Entiat and Chelan will be closed intermittently today as helicopters dip water out of the Columbia River. In addition, there is a boating restriction in place on the Columbia River for a half mile in each direction of where helicopters are picking up water.
Navarre Coulee Road remains closed, but the highway between Lake Chelan State Park and Chelan is still open.
The fire is estimated to be between 200 to 250 acres this morning.
It broke out early Thursday afternoon about three and a half miles north of Highway 97A in Navarre Coulee. It moved up the Johnson Creek drainage, but slowed "considerably" when it reached green, wetter areas near the top of the ridge, said fire spokeswoman Robin DeMario.
It then started heading south toward the Columbia River.
DeMario said one home in Johnson Creek is under a mandatory Level 3 evacuation. In addition, 13 homes and cabins in Johnson Creek are under a less severe Level 2 evacuation, advising residents to be ready to leave at a moment's notice, and another 19 homes along Navarre Coulee Road are under a cautionary Level 1 evacuation.
No structures have been damaged so far, DeMario.
"The fire laid down really well overnight," she said today. "We had cold temperatures and higher humidity last night. That kind of nighttime recovery is really good for firefighters to be able to work right at the fire's edge."
She said hand crews and a bulldozer were able to dig lines around 10 to 15 percent of the fire by late Thursday night. Hand crews left the fire line around 12:30 a.m. Friday morning to get some sleep, she said.
Three helicopters dropped water on the fire Thursday.
Link Transit reports that the fire is causing some disruption to routes to Entiat, Chelan and Manson. Riders may call 662-1155 for up-to-the-minute information.
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