Update, 10:35 a.m. Thursday: ENTIAT — All evacuation levels at the Cougar Creek Fire were downgraded by one level at 10 a.m. Thursday and containment has increased.

The areas on the highest levels of alert are Mad River Road and Ardenvoir, which are under Level 2 evacuation notices (be read to leave). A Level 1 advisory notice is in effect for Entiat River Road from Mad River Road to Crum Canyon.

After a string of days with favorable weather conditions, crews have reached 35 percent containment of the 32,000-acre fire north of Entiat. Though residents could see some new plumes of smoke Thursday.

Winds of 20 mph in the Entiat River Valley, and high on ridgetops, are expected Thursday, which could increase fire activity.

“This is a look up, look down, and look around day,” said Fire Behavior Analyst Jeff Shelton in a news release from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. “What flames were creeping yesterday will be chewing today.”

There’s a potential for fire spotting Thursday; residents can expect to see smoke plumes, the release says.

Crews suppressed a two-acre spot fire Wednesday along the the southern perimeter and hope to have it contained today.

Also on Wednesday, helicopters dropped water in the areas of Grandma Creek on the northeastern perimeter, and Potato Creek, inside the perimeter.

The incident command post is moving Thursday from Entiat High School to the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. Management of fire operations will transition Friday from California Interagency Incident Management Team 5 to Pacific Northwest Team 3.

“We had zero loss of homes. We would have lost structures without your firefighters and your leadership,” said Mike Asher, chief of Chelan County Fire District 8. “On behalf of our residents, I thank you.”

 

ENTIAT — Containment on the Cougar Creek Fire is estimated at 28 percent, the first reported increase in several days.

On Wednesday, crews continued reinforcing and extending containment lines prior to forecasted late-afternoon winds. Helicopters may be used to drop fire into unburned vegetation to increase containment lines, according to a news release from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Crews on Tuesday burned containment lines along the southern perimeter of the 31,062-acre fire.

“We back-burned and have containment line all the way from Sugarloaf Lookout to the Gold Ridge, north of Ardenvoir,” said Steve Burns, operations section chief, in the release.

The team managing the fire, California Interagency Incident Management Team 5, will transition command of fire operations on Friday to Pacific Northwest Team 3.

Because school starts soon, incident command is relocating on Thursday from Entiat High School to Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery.