The Wenatchee World



The latest extended forecast from The Weather Channel

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Memorial Day

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Containment for Wenatchee Complex expected Dec. 1

NCW — Fire officials this weekend set a containment date of Dec. 1 for the Wenatchee Complex fires, which are now 70 percent contained. And while many of the resources assigned to the fires that stretch from Leavenworth to Chelan are demobilizing, fire officials say what they’ve always said — it will take significant rain or snow to actually put them out.

NCW fires: Omak residents return home; Peavine firelines strengthened

NCW — Residents who evacuated in the St. Mary’s Mission Road Fire east of Omak on Tuesday were allowed to return home Saturday morning. The road — where two homes and eight other buildings were destroyed and the Paschal Sherman Indian School was threatened by the wind-driven fire — remains closed to the public. Now 15 percent contained, the fire is still active, and more than 500 firefighting personnel, eight helicopters and 39 engines are working to protect the 54 homes still considered threatened on the Colville Indian Reservation, fire ...

Cooler weather doesn’t ease NCW fire fears

Wildfires in North Central Washington continued to burn actively on Thursday despite the cooler weather, fire officials say. The St. Mary’s Mission Road Fire which started Tuesday east of Omak nearly doubled to 9,655 acres, while the Wenatchee Complex burning since a Sept. 8 lightning storm is now 56,478 acres.

Crews fighting Wenatchee fire moving campsite to Cashmere

WENATCHEE — The national fire team overseeing fires in the area will head back home and firefighters will clear out of Wenatchee Confluence State Park on Friday. The firefighting effort continues to wind down, though officials don’t expect all the fires to be contained until they are doused with a soaking rain or snow.

Tough terrain hampers efforts to corral Omak fire

OMAK — Firefighters lost no additional homes Wednesday, but made little headway in containing a wind-driven wildfire that has grown to 5,500 acres on the Colville Indian Reservation east of Omak. The St. Mary’s Mission Road Fire started Tuesday afternoon near the road’s junction with Highway 155, and quickly blossomed into a roaring inferno under heavy winds.

Wildfire on Colville Reservation destroys two homes near mission

OMAK — Two homes and several outbuildings were destroyed by a 1,000-acre wildfire burning on the Colville Indian Reservation Tuesday, along with a storage building at St. Mary’s Mission, where tribal students once boarded at an Indian School. The Paschal Sherman Indian School was also threatened in the wind-driven wildfire that swept through grass and sagebrush, but firefighters were able to evacuate a few dozen boarding students and protect the school, said Omak Fire Chief Kevin Bowling.

Firefighters feeling good about fires

WENATCHEE — Fire lines held tight through winds that gusted to 35 mph on Tuesday, giving fire officials confidence that the wildfire danger has nearly passed. “The big test was the red-flag (wind) warning for the last two days,” said fire spokesman Brad Pitassi. “With the minimal growth that we saw on the fires and the fact that they stayed within containment features after going through a pretty significant test, it makes everyone comfortable.”

Two homes destroyed in St. Mary’s fire

Two homes were destroyed on the Colville Indian Reservation, along with one building at St. Mary's Mission, where tribal students once boarded at an Indian School. The mission was later replaced by the Paschal Sherman Indian School, which is threatened, but has a dozer line around it, said

Winds will test fire lines tonight

WENATCHEE — Four fires burning near Wenatchee, Cashmere, Entiat and Lake Chelan were declared fully contained on Sunday. But crews are still working to corral the largest fire burning south of Wenatchee and several still blazing in the high country.

A breath of fresh air

CASHMERE — Air quality in this smoke-choked Upper Valley town again returned to healthy levels with Saturday's winds, which blew the town's hourly particle count down to practically zero by 1 p.m.

Air shelter to close

WATERVILLE — A clean air shelter activated Wednesday at the NCW District Fairgrounds will close Saturday after receiving no traffic from folks seeking to escape the smoke.

Blewett Pass highway closed by fire

A 25-mile stretch of Highway 97 over Blewett Pass closed early this morning and remains closed because of fire activity.

Property owners critical of backburn on private land

Stewart Hoover and ThanhVan Tran were relieved to find their home had not burned when they returned from a trip to the east coast the evening of Sept. 12. The hills around their house at the paved end of No. 1 Canyon Road were charred and still smoking, but it appeared as though the danger had passed.

Backburn cuts off Peavine Fire, but chokes air quality

WENATCHEE — Firefighters completed a large burnout along the Blewett Pass highway Wednesday that impeded traffic until nearly midnight. “It was really smoky up there,” fire spokesman Mick Mueller said this morning. “You could feel the heat (in your car) in sections. That was really warm when the fire went through heavy timber.”

How NCW air monitors assess our health

WENATCHEE — When the smoke poured over North Central Washington two weeks ago, it was measured in six locations. As the crisis deepened, the number of measuring sites nearly doubled.

Valley accumulates smoke once more

Air quality in Wenatchee and Cashmere returned to unhealthy and hazardous levels respectively today as nighttime inversions trap wildfire smoke in NCW’s nooks and crannies. Yet most air sampling sites maintained in the region by the Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Forest Service showed strong improvements in outlying areas today, putting Leavenworth, Chelan, Omak, Winthrop, Twisp, Entiat, Quincy and Pateros in the good to unhealthy for sensitive groups range, below generally unhealthy levels.

Firefighters still trying to contain Peavine Fire

WENATCHEE — Highway 97 over Blewett Pass will be reduced to one lane traffic at noon today as firefighters work to contain the Peavine Fire. The restriction will be along a three-mile section south of the summit.