By Marcy Stamper
The Tatie Peak Fire, burning in difficult terrain near Slate Peak about 3 miles from Harts Pass, has prompted Methow Valley District Ranger Mike Liu to close the Harts Pass Road. Liu determined that current conditions create a significant potential for the fire to spread.
“With only one way in and out of Harts Pass and the expansion of the Tatie Peak fire, we want to limit the number of people in the area,” said Liu. The road is closed at the gate above the River Bend campground. Slate Peak is the terminus of the Harts Pass Road.
Firefighters and smokejumpers are combating the Tatie Peak Fire, which is burning in moderate fuel, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It is about 20 miles northwest of Mazama. Smokejumpers built a fire line on one flank of the fire on Thursday (Aug. 13) and another crew was expected to arrive on Friday.
Liu said the situation would be monitored closely and the area would be reopened as soon as it is safe.
In addition, the Pacific Crest Trail is closed between Glacier Pass and Woody Pass, which is a change from an earlier closure. An alternate route is available for through-hikers.
Another fire near Cutthroat that had grown to 1/2 acre and a small spot fire burning 9 miles west of Mazama were both contained late Thursday (Aug. 13) by a Forest Service hand crew, local rappellers and helicopters with water buckets.
All three fires were started by lightning on Aug. 12.
Black Canyon Fire
A Forest Service engine and crew are fighting a fire near Black Canyon, about 6 miles southwest of the town of Methow. The fire was ignited by lightning on Friday morning (Aug. 14), according to Robin DeMario, public affairs specialist with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
The fire was burning in grass, brush and isolated trees in steep terrain and had grown to 10 acres by midday, said DeMario. It is on the west side of Highway 153.
A team of smokejumpers flew over the fire but did not jump because they saw there were already crews on the fire, said DeMario.
There are several structures to the west of the fire, which could be a concern if the fire grows, said DeMario.
A lightning storm Friday morning (Aug. 14, 2015) was concentrated near Chelan, east of Twisp, and in the Okanogan drainage. Additional fires are being reported and crews are responding, according to the Forest Service.
Warnings for extreme fire danger and the potential of flash floods from thunderstorms with heavy rain are in effect through 8 p.m. Friday.