Type 1 incident teams take over management
Both the Cedar Creek and Cub Creek fires are now managed by their own type 1 incident response teams, one from California, and one from the Great Basin area, or portions of Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Wyoming.
On Monday, Northwest Incident Management Team 8, which had been managing the Cedar Creek fire since July 13 and also managed the Cub Creek Fire for its first week, announced that Great Basin National Incident Management Team 1 would take over the Cedar Creek Fire starting Tuesday (July 27).
The Great Basin group was in the Methow for the Carlton Complex Fire in 2014, said Twisp Mayor Soo Ing-Moody.
“I’m feeling pretty confident at the ability of what this team can do for us in the next couple of weeks,” she said.
On Friday (July 23), Team 8 was relieved by California Interagency Incident Management Team 1, a type 1 incident management team to take over the Cub Creek Fire.
“Northwest Team 8 … showed up on July 13 with three relatively small fires in a really complex piece of country and (we) asked them to help us come up with solutions and within about four days we doubled the complexity of what we were asking them to do with the start of Cub Creek,” said Methow District Ranger Chris Furr. “I think they’ve done a remarkable job of reacting to changing conditions, changing priorities and just everything that the past eight or nine days have thrown at them.”
A few days after the Cedar Creek, Varden and Delancy fires were first reported July 11, Northwest Incident Management Team 8, a type 2 response team, came to the Methow to take over those fires. As the Cedar Creek and Varden fires merged — and are now just called the Cedar Creek Fire — the team had to split off into two groups as a new threat emerged at Cub Creek on July 16.
“It spreads us really thin,” said Kevin Stock, incident commander of Team 8, of fighting both the Cedar Creek and Cub Creek fires at once.
Adding a type 1 team brings more logistical support, personnel and other resources, Stock said. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, Type 1 incident management teams are assigned to manage large-scale, complex incidents, often wildfires.
“I have a lot of empathy for this community. It feels like home,” said Stock, who is from Bend, Oregon, during the July 21 meeting in Winthrop. “I know how much you guys count on the tourism, how much you love being in the outdoors. That’s why you’re here.”
On Sunday, members of the Washington state National Guard arrived to help with roadblocks and security, Cedar Creek Fire management reported.
Last week, the state Fire Marshal’s Office authorized state mobilization for the Cedar Creek and Cub Creek fires. Three strike teams were sent to the Methow, with each containing five wildland engines and one water tender, for a total of 18 additional vehicles and their staff. Those crews will largely be devoted to protecting structures in the affected areas, Stock and Okanogan County Fire District 6 Chief Cody Acord said.
Cedar Creek Fire resources
• 535 total personnel
• three type 1 hotshot crews
• five type 2 hand crews
• two camp crews
• four type 1 (heavy) helicopters
• one type 2 helicopter
• two type 3 helicopters
• 55 engines
• five dozers
• 16 water tenders
• one masticator
• one skidgen
• three skidders
• one excavator
• four feller/bunchers
• one aerial supervision module
• 151 overhead/command or supervisory staff
Cub Creek Fire resources
• 657 total personnel
• three type 1 interagency hotshot crews
• nine type 2 IHCs
• four type 2 initial attack hand crews
• five heavy helicopters
• one medium helicopter
• two light lift helicopters
• 29 engines
• nine dozers
• 12 water tenders
• 145 overhead/command staff