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.
Crews using heavy equipment are focusing on repairing more than 160 miles of fire lines created in the fight to keep the Crescent Mountain and McLeod fires from advancing on residential areas. Called “suppression repair,” the effort involves restoring land that has been disrupted by heavy …
Little research so far on long-term effects By Marcy Stamper Wildland firefighters face many risks on the job — working near flames in thick smoke with heavy machinery and sharp tools — but there has been relatively little research into the long-term health impacts of their work. A new law creating a voluntary nationwide registry of cancers in firefighters […]