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More firefighters coming in as Mills Canyon Fire grows

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Firefighters wait as a flames move down Spencer Canyon Thursday night toward Highway 97A.

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Calm day after a wild night

Calm day after a wild night

ENTIAT — Calm winds Thursday gave firefighters and homeowners a bit of a break following the Mills Canyon Fire’s wind-driven run Wednesday night.

1 p.m. update

Deputies plan to start knocking on doors in the highest portions of Eagle Rock and Burch Mountain residential areas to tell residents to be on alert and follow media reports on the Mills Canyon Fire as the fire moves closer to nearby Swakane Canyon.

Chelan County Emergency Management spokesman Rich Magnussen said the alert is just a warning and there is no danger in those areas at this time.

Fire crews continue to work the south and northwest perimeters of the fire. Highway 97A between Wenatchee and Entiat briefly opened, but was closed again today as fire crews work along the highway between Swakane Canyon and Entiat. Smoke could be heavy at times today in the Entiat Valley.

Here’s a rundown of other evacuation information as of 1 p.m. Friday:

• A Level 1 has just been initiated for the Entiat Road from Roaring Creek Road to Ardenvoir.

• A Level 3 Evacuation is in place for approximately 42 structures on the southwest side of Entiat River Road from Dinkelman Canyon to Roaring Creek Road and the entire Roaring Creek Road.

About 122 structures are at a Level 2 on the south of Entiat River Road between Mile Post 1.5 and Dinkelman.

• Highway 97A between Entiat River Road and Swakane Canyon Road remains closed at this time. 

LEVEL 1: A level 1 Evacuation means alert. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, and monitor local media outlets for information. Evacuations at this time are voluntary.

LEVEL 2: A Level 2 Evacuation means be ready. This level indicates there is significant danger to your area,

and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the effected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready at a moment’s notice.

LEVEL 3: A Level 3 Evacuation means leave immediately. Danger to your area is current or imminent, and you should leave immediately.

For more information on evacuation levels or road closures, please refer to the Chelan County Emergency Management Facebook page.

11 a.m. update:

Highway 97A between Wenatchee and Entiat closed again this morning as fire crews work in the area. Traffic to and from Entiat is detoured through Chelan and Highway 2/97 on the east side of the Columbia River.


ENTIAT — The Mills Canyon Fire nearly doubled its size again as it continues to burn through tinder-dry brush between Entiat and Swakane Canyon.

Fire officials estimate the fire had burned more than 18,065 acres as of this morning, and said it could easily double that again in the next day or two. The fire expanded little Thursday night, however, and is now 19 percent contained, fire crews were told at their strategic meeting this morning.

About 650 firefighters are now on the fire, working in long rotating shifts from a camp at Entiat High School. There are eight helicopters working the fire, said fire spokesman Joe Anderson.

The fire has moved to the south and southeast, and is still a mile or more away from Swakane Canyon.

Highway 97A reopened to all traffic Thursday afternoon and residents along Highway 97A between Entiat River Road and Spencer Canyon were able to return to their homes. The fire had burned east toward the highway and the Columbia River Wednesday night forcing evacuation of more than 100 homes.

These are the evacuation warning in effect this morning:

Level 3, the highest evacuation level, for 122 homes along Entiat River Road, from Dinkelman Road to and including 14 homes on Roaring Creek Road.

Level 1 for residences beyond that, from Roaring Creek Road to Mad River at Ardenvoir. Those residents should be aware that fire conditions could change quickly

Entiat River Road is open to residential traffic only.

Level 2 evacuation is advised for the section of Entiat River Road from the Columbia River to Dinkelman Canyon Road, meaning residents should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

Weather conditions should be somewhat kinder today. The National Weather Service has called off its red flag warnings due to high winds the past two days. Winds will calm today to 5 to 7 mph. High temperatures will be in the mid 90s today, before warming up again to 100 degrees Saturday and Sunday.

Entiat Warehouse Community Church is taking in evacuees who need food or a place to stay. The American Red Cross has a shelter open at the Seventh-day Adventist Church at 508 N. Western Ave. in Wenatchee.

Reach Rick Steigmeyer at 509-664-7151 or . Read his blog Winemaker's Journal. follow him on Twitter at @steigmeyerww.