A prescribed burn on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife land, between Pearrygin Lake State Park and the Upper Bear Creek campground, will continue through the end of this week. The camping site, officially known as the Methow Wildlife Area Bear Creek No. 1 Campground, remains closed until the burn is completed. Smoke was visible […]
The Okanogan Public Utility District (PUD) shut off the electricity from Pateros to Twisp about 12:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon (May 3) so firefighters could attack a fire burning one of the utility’s transmission poles, near Benson Creek Drive and Highway 153. PUD officials determined the pole was still sound after the fire and didn’t […]
Research defines most fire-prone areas in state When it comes to wildfire, you don’t necessarily vie to be No. 1. But in a study of wildfire risk in Washington, of the 10 communities at highest risk, seven are in Okanogan County. The town of Methow is in first place, Winthrop comes in at No. 6, […]
A lawsuit filed against the Okanogan County Electric Co-operative (OCEC) by Daniel Lyon, the firefighter severely burned in the 2015 Twisp River Fire, should be dismissed based on the “professional rescuer doctrine,” which bars professional rescuers from recovering damages for injuries, OCEC is arguing in legal filings.
The Crescent Mountain and McLeod wildfires burned more than 77,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land in the Methow Valley last summer, leaving thousands of acres vulnerable to increased flooding, erosion and weed invasions.
The Forest Service has allocated $332,330 for emergency treatments designed to reduce risks in the areas damaged by the fires. Emergency measures to manage post-fire threats to natural resources, human life and safety, and Forest Service property (including roads, trails, bridges and campgrounds), were recommended through a process called Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER).
From a vantage point on top of Buttermilk Butte, the remnants of the Crescent Mountain Fire could be seen last week sending up scattered plumes of white smoke as the fire smolders and creeps along forested slopes and in drainages near the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness area to the south.
As the Crescent Mountain Fire burned tens of thousands of acres up the Twisp River, many in the local and regional horseback riding community worried that a favorite horse camping site, the Twisp River Horse Camp, would be lost. But as the flames receded, there was some good news.
Bill Ford, who joined the Back Country Horsemen in Washington state in the late 1970s and is an active member of the Methow Valley chapter, went out to look at the damage at the horse camp on Sept. 20.
Local U.S. Forest Service officials this week were evaluating road and trail closures in areas impacted by the Crescent Mountain and McLeod fires, to determine where and when the closures can be lifted.
“We anticipate that very soon we will bring everything [closures] back to the fire perimeter area,” said Chris Furr, Methow Valley district ranger.
Starting this month, fire managers plan to begin prescribed burning on 5,300 acres of U.S. Forest Service land on the east slope of the Cascades, with almost half of the total amount of acreage in the Methow Valley Ranger District.
Fewer acres may be burned if conditions are not favorable, said Rob Allen, forest fire staff officer with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Smoke is still lingering in the lower valley and creating periods of unhealthy air, but other evidence of the wildfires that stole much of the Methow Valley’s summer is fading away.
The huge incident command post at the Blues Ranch near Winthrop, which supported about 1,300 people and firefighting equipment during the peak of wildfires a few weeks ago, has been packed up and hauled away.