Containment Lines Holding Swakane Wildfire Near WenatcheePosted: Updated:
NEAR WENATCHEE, Wash. -- In spite of extremely strong winds and dry air Monday and Monday night, the containment lines surrounding the Swakane wildfire have remained intact. There were strong winds Tuesday on the fire, but they were less than half of Monday's intensity. There was no growth in the fire perimeter. Much of the flames and smoke visible from the fire Tuesday were from burn out operations on the north and northwest flanks. Tuesday's weather was more moderate than Monday's allowing the use of helicopters to support burn out operations. Wednesday's forecast is for light winds which should allow continued use of helicopters. This should provide an opportunity for effective line fortification using air- and ground-based crews and equipment. Dry grass and brush are the most flammable fuels associated with this fire. Although much of the timber is still too moist to burn actively and is a natural barrier to progression of the fire, these fuels have been drying and are contributing to active fire behavior when the wind direction and uphill topography align. Homes, structures and utility lines continue to be threatened by this wildfire. Evacuation advisories of level I and II remain in place and have not changed. The fire has directly affected nine miles along Highway 97A with congestion, fire activity and fire personnel present near the roadway. The speed limit has been reduced to 45 mph in some places. Drivers are requested to avoid stopping along Hwy 97A and consider using Hwy 97 on the east side of the Columbia River if possible. This fire can be easily viewed from safe sites across the river. New road closures are in place north of the fire area in the Mills Canyon area. WIIMT 4 is managing the incident under a joint Delegation of Authority from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Southeast Region, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, and Chelan County Fire Districts 1 and 8, with assistance from other State, Federal and local agencies.