UPDATE: 5:30 p.m., Sunday:
WENATCHEE — Despite the winds picking up this afternoon, firefighters were holding their firelines as the Skyline Drive Fire remained 90 percent contained late this afternoon. Rich Magnussen, Chelan County Emergency Management Specialist, said evacuation levels remained the same, and there were no significant changes. No structures have been lost and no one has been injured.
UPDATE: 2 p.m. Sunday: WENATCHEE — Fire officials say the Skyline Drive fire is 90 percent contained, but eight homes on Skyline Drive remain under a Level 3 evacuation due to winds expected to begin this afternoon, said Chelan County Emergency Management Specialist Rich Magnussen.
Sixty more homes in the No. 2 Canyon remain under a Level 1 evacuation, with notification that there’s a fire in the area, and they may want to be prepared for evacuation.
The size of the fire was downgraded to 180 acres due to more precise mapping by the state Department of Natural Resources, Magnussen said. “We’re definitely getting the upper hand,” he said. But winds are expected to test those fire lines this afternoon.
UPDATE: Noon, Sunday: WENATCHEE — The Skyline Drive Fire burning on the outskirts of Wenatchee since 2:15 a.m. Sunday is now estimated at between 300 and 400 acres and still threatens eight homes on Skyline Drive.
Those residents remain under a Level 3 evacuation. They were asked to leave immediately due to the threat of fire.
But, as of mid-day, no structures have been lost, and fire officials are they’re hopeful about gaining some control of the fire before winds pick up this afternoon.
“The fire department is now under unified command with the DNR (Department of Natural Resources), and we’ve started to get a hold on the fire,” said Chelan County Emergency Mangement Specialist Rich Magnussen. “Things are looking better. The weather is cooperating,” he said.
The fire has burned up and over Saddlerock, and trails and the parking area — which is the fire’s staging area — are closed.
Several more residents from No. 2 Canyon, from Skyline to the gun club, have been notified of a fire in the area, but have not been asked to evacuate.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Fire investigators have pinpointed an ignition point just off of Skyline Drive.
“We don’t have an official cause, but there was no lightning in the area last night,” Magnussen said.
He said firefighters who arrived on the fire first were noticing illegal aerial fireworks all over the valley.
“A big message we want to get out is to stress the danger of fireworks,” he said, especially with so many of the region’s local resources tied up with the Skyline Drive Fire. All available resources from Douglas and Chelan counties were called out, he said.
Magnussen said 100 firefighting personnel are on the scene today, and the Chelan County Fire District 1 helicopter and two DNR helicopters are helping cool the fire, burning in steep terrain that’s difficult to get to.
“It’s looking a lot better,” Magnussen said, “But we’ll be watching the winds later this afternoon.”
The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures in the low 90s, with steady winds at about 10 mph and some stronger winds from 10 to 20 mph expected in the early evening.