Updated, 2:35 p.m. Wednesday: NCW — The National Weather Service in Spokane issued a Red Flag Warning for Thursday in much of Eastern Washington, to include Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties.
The warning is in effect from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Meteorologists are forecasting strong winds and low relative humidity.
Updated, 10:55 a.m. Wednesday:
ENTIAT — Crews working the Cougar Creek Fire burning between Plain and Ardenvoir are focusing efforts Wednesday on the 39,208-acre fire’s western edge.
Residents in Plain and Chiwawa Pines can expect to see an increase in smoke as crews perform firing operations to extend containment lines. Crews will also be in the area doing structure protection, like cutting branches and removing ladder fuels.
Winds and smoke were moderate Tuesday, allowing helicopters to make about 80 bucket drops, said fire spokesman Mike Reichling. The fire remains 40 percent contained; 868 are assigned to the fire.
Reichling added that fire managers feel confident that the east side of the fire in the Entiat River Valley is secure.
Officials are hosting a community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in Entiat at Chelan County Fire District 8, Station 1, 2200 Entiat Way.
ENTIAT — Containment of the Cougar Creek Fire is up to 40 percent, but shifting winds have pushed the focus for firefighters to the western flank.
Winds blowing in from the east increased activity in the western portion of the fire, causing the fire to burn up slope and east of Road No. 6104 towards Maverick Saddle.
Crews were working on dozer lines from the south and hand lines from the north in an effort to corral the fire, according to Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 3. Better visibility Tuesday morning allowed the team to use air resources on the blaze.
The fire is estimated at just under 39,000 acres, with a crew of 949 fighting the blaze.
Nearby, the Lost Fire was remapped by GPS and is now estimated at 80 acres.
The Bannock Lakes Fire 17 miles west of Stehekin in the Glacier Peaks Wilderness is about 470 acres. The fire has forced the closure of the Pacific Crest Trail from Suiattle Pass to High Bridge. A detour is available from Suiattle Pass to Stehekin.
Pete O’Cain: 664-7152