Spot fire from Sleepy Hollow Fire burned commercial structures 1.2 miles from main fire

Sleepy Hollow Fire map
3-D map of the Sleepy Hollow Fire in Wenatchee, Washington, looking west, 1 a.m. PT, June 30, 2015. Note the spot fire near the river that is 1.2 miles east of the main fire. (click to enlarge)

The map above is a 3-D rendering of the perimeter of the Sleepy Hollow Fire that burned into Wenatchee in central Washington Sunday, June 28. The map is looking west, and was produced after a mapping flight at 1 a.m. PT, July 1. The fire burned 24 residences and several commercial structures.

One interesting thing is the spot fire that caused several businesses to burn near the river 1.2 miles away from the main fire. It is believed that a burning ember landed in some bales of cardboard that were to be recycled. While firefighters were engaged miles away trying to save homes, the fire spread from the cardboard to several nearby commercial structures, some of which were warehouses and fruit packing plants. Monday morning, June 29, smoke was still coming from the facilities of Michelsen Packaging Company, Northwest Wholesale, and Blue Bird Inc.

This is not unheard of, for a burning ember to travel that far and ignite a new fire, and has happened over greater distances. A recent example was on the King Fire in northern California in 2014, where a spot fire occurred 2 miles in front of the main fire.

More information about the Sleepy Hollow Fire on Wildfire Today.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.