This story was revised Monday (June 22) at 12:45 p.m. to reflect current information from fire managers.
By Marcy Stamper
About two dozen hand crews, two helicopters with water buckets, and a bulldozer attacked several spot fires southeast of Twisp on Sunday afternoon (June 21). The fires sent up a significant plume of smoke and were reported at 2 p.m. Within a few hours, they were mainly smoldering on charred hillsides that were attended by fire crews, while bucket drops continued on at least one more-persistent blaze.
Firefighters and law enforcement officers said there were several fires – reports ranged from four to a dozen – but no cause had been determined as of Sunday. There were at least two separate fires – one on the hillside above Lower Beaver Creek Road between Highway 20 and Finley Canyon Road, and one on the south side of the highway within the next mile heading east. The fires did not appear to be contiguous. They are currently under investigation by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The fire above Lower Beaver Creek Road burned within several yards of a residence on Finley Canyon. Hand crews and a dozer built fire lines and crews cut trees along the hillside, which was covered primarily with low, shrub-steppe vegetation.
Police were directing traffic for a short stretch on Highway 20, where the south lane was closed to allow crews to work on one fire, which was burning on the hillside next to the highway.
The fires ignited very near an area that burned severely in the Carlton Complex Fire last summer.
Crews from Okanogan County Fire District 6 and DNR, along with law enforcement officers from the county, Twisp and Winthrop, were on scene.