BRIDGEPORT — A week after it tore through 350 square miles of Douglas County, the Pearl Hill Fire is nearing full containment.
The 223,730-acre fire was 90% contained by this morning, according to Northeast Incident Management Team 6. Twenty-six homes and commercial buildings burned in the fire, up from an estimate last week of 20.
Bridgeport is currently under a boil-water advisory, according to the Douglas County government’s Facebook page. Anyone looking to donate or otherwise help should contact City Hall at 686-4041.
Officials are continuing to assess fire damage. About 165 people are assigned to the fire.
The fire originated about 9:45 p.m. Sept. 6 in Omak before jumping the Columbia River into Bridgeport six hours later.
Authorities then treated them as separate fires: the Cold Springs Fire in Okanogan County, and the Pearl Hill Fire in Douglas County.
The Cold Springs Fire was about 60% contained at 188,852 acres as of this morning, according to the Northeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team. About 300 firefighters were assigned to it.
Crews continued to work in the old Omak Mill area, which was involved in a separate fire Sept. 8, breaking up smoldering piles of wood shavings, the team said. The northeast portion of the fire, which has been the focus, was contained and being patrolled, and crews were mopping up hotspots within the fire perimeter.
Level 3 evacuation notices have been reduced to Level 2, and roads in the fire area are only open to local traffic, the team said.
The Red Cross shelter in Brewster is now closed, but the hotline is still available at 670-5331 for help. For long-term recovery help, contact JessicaOCDCM@gmail.com or 846-5101.
Donation centers are full and items are being distributed. Monetary contributions can be made to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program at 634-2857 or your favorite charity.
Driven by 40 to 50 mph wind gusts, the Pearl Hill Fire raced south 30 miles to Highway 2 at a pace of 10,000 acres per hour, fire behavior analyst Katie Hetts said Friday at a fire information meeting.
Not long after reaching the highway, where crews were able to hold the fire from spreading farther south, winds shifted directions and pushed the fire to the west, said meteorologist Steve Bodner at the meeting.
Only a few hours after the meeting concluded, the fire flared up in Whitley Canyon near Bridgeport Bar and destroyed a structure. Fire managers had planned to conduct a controlled burn in the same area on Saturday.
Dense smoke from West Coast wildfires provided cool temperatures and low humidity on the fire, which aided efforts over the weekend to contain the fire, the team said.
Areas north of Highway 2 and in McNeil Canyon remain under Level 2 evacuations — be ready to leave. Highway 173, Bridgeport Hill Road and Crane Orchard Road have been reopened.
The Apple Acres Fire east of Chelan, which started 11:30 a.m. Sept. 7 — eight hours after the Pearl Hill Fire began — is considered 97% contained at 5,753 acres.