WINTHROP — Two hot shot firefighter crews from Entiat and La Grande, Oregon arrives late Saturday to help battle the Sun Mountain Fire, which has grown from 10 acres to 35 acres southwest of Winthrop.
Sun Mountain Lodge is not threatened by the fire, which is burning in steep terrain in the Lake Chelan Sawtooth Wilderness at the South Fork of War Creek.
Five helicopters are supporting the fire, two for transport, two providing bucket drops and another providing aerial reconnaissance, Shannon O’Brien, fire spokeswoman with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, said late Saturday in a news release.
With the calmer winds, there was less fire activity today. Firefighters worked along the left flank of the fire, using chainsaws, Pulaskis and shovels to establish a containment line.
Crews have closed a forest area near the fire for public and firefighter safety.
The area begins at the confluence of War Creek and South Fork War Creek and extends southwest along Black Ridge to Sun Mountain. It then follows Chelan Crest from Sun Mountain to Battle Mountain and northeast along Snowshoe Ridge to the wilderness boundary. It then heads north and back to War Creek, a news release said.
The fire is now managed by a Type 3 incident management team. It was caused by a lightning strike July 7.
Cool temperatures and calm winds have helped keep under control two other wildfires, both near Lake Chelan.
The 4-acre Twin Harbor Fire is about 35 miles northwest of the lake’s south shore.
Crews and air support are no longer fighting the fire, which is now on monitor status, fire spokeswoman Irma Farias said Saturday.
“The fire is not burning. It’s just smoldering and creeping,” she said. “They have a line around the whole fire.”
The fire is burning in steep terrain on an old burn area blackened in 2004 by the Deep Harbor Fire.
Northwest of Monitor, along the lake’s north shore, the 25 Mile Fire is on patrol status, Farias said. Two engines are patrolling from the ground, but little smoke is visible.
The fire, which began July 4 near a small castle structure, has burned 2,098 acres. Its origin is still under investigation.
Temperatures and humidity are expected to be about average for the season through Sunday, with calmer westerly winds, Steven Van Horn, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Spokane said Saturday.
Winds will pick up Sunday night and into Monday but will blow in from the north and are not expected to increase activity in the region’s existing fires, he said.