Fire danger remains extreme in county, region
The Methow Valley’s first noteworthy wildfire of the season, the Burma Road Fire, was contained at 159 acres after the blaze broke out on Saturday (Aug. 1) about 5 miles north of Pateros.
Crews from several agencies including the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Okanogan County Fire District 6 responded to the fire. Level 1 and Level 2 evacuation notices were issued, but no structures were burned and the fire was essentially under control by about 9 p.m. Saturday.
“Level 1 means there is a fire in your general area, Level 2 means you need to prepare to evacuate, and Level 3 means you need to leave now,” said Fire District 6 Chief Cody Acord.
As of Monday (Aug. 3), according to the Central Washington Interagency Communications Center, there was minimal smoke visible at the Burma Road Fire site, and crews were working to mop up the area. “The fire’s out, they’ve got crews up there watching it, [and] all evacuation levels have been dropped,” said Maurice Goodall, Okanogan County Emergency Management director.
Wildfires burned in multiple locations last week, as fire danger in Okanogan County remained at a “very high, to extreme [level]” according to Acord.
High temperatures, humidity, and wind affected ignition of fires.
The Anglin Fire, near Tonasket, which left one home damaged and two out-buildings destroyed, and the Green Fire, near Riverside, started off the week on July 27. Firefighters from Okanogan County and Washington State Department of Natural Resources, along with federal, state and local agencies, were able to achieve 100% containment by Saturday evening.
According to a Washington State DNR spokesperson, there were 400 personnel supporting the effort to put out the Anglin and Green Fires, and “a lot of aircraft movement,” with 28 resource orders for aircraft.
The Anglin Fire, which burned 1,992 acres, was triggered by burning material from a motor vehicle, while the Green Fire, which burned 1,480 acres, was started by a motor vehicle accident, according to a DNR spokesperson.
On July 30, the Blue Lake One Fire started 8 miles north of Conconully, and burned 73 acres until it was contained on Saturday by Okanogan County, DNR, and firefighters diverted from the Anglin and Green Fires. The cause of the Blue Lake One Fire is under investigation.
Okanogan County Emergency Management offers, through its website okanogandem.org, a registration form for evacuation notices, which allows residents to receive notifications regarding fire evacuation levels.
Acord noted that in an emergency, an evacuation notice may not be able to be delivered in person, and the Emergency Management notices give residents a quick heads-up.
“You may get a Level 1 initially, that could jump straight to a Level 3, because the fire moves so fast,” Acord said. “It’s important to be prepared right now.”