By Marcy Stamper

The Crescent Mountain Fire grew by about 500 acres on Thursday (Aug. 9), primarily because of burnouts conducted by firefighters to eliminate fuels between War Creek and the Buttermilk area. The fire line constructed at War Creek held over Thursday night and was in mop-up status on Friday, according to Jon Wallace, operations section chief for the Southern Area Red Type 1 team that’s managing the fire.

Fire managers are concerned about a cold front accompanied by strong westerly winds that is forecast for Friday starting around 5 or 6 p.m. and continuing into Saturday. That shift could test the fire line at War Creek and drive the fire toward a high-elevation rocky area, and encourage fire growth along Whistling Creek, between Scatter and Slate creeks on the north side of Twisp River Road, where there is already active fire, said Wallace.

Crews have been working on contingency lines to prepare for possible movement on the northwest flank of the fire by clearing up Little Bridge Creek and Thompson Ridge roads, said Wallace.

The U.S. Forest Service has closed additional roads and trails in the area, including roads around Poorman Creek, Libby Creek, Gold Creek, McClure Mountain and Lookout Mountain Road. The closure on Twisp River Road was moved east to 8 miles from town, instead of 11 miles at Buttermilk.