Wolverine Fire in Washington continues to grow

(UPDATED at 7:30 a.m. PT, August 6, 2015)

Wolverine Fire Aug 1, 2015
Wolverine Fire Aug 1, 2015. Photo by Mario Isaias-Vera.

Since we last reported on the Wolverine Fire on Lake Chelan in northern Washington August 3 it has grown by about 2,000 acres to 26,614, according to data from a 12:09 a.m. mapping flight on Thursday.

map of Wolverine Fire
Map of Wolverine Fire (in red) at 12:09 a.m. August 6, 2015. The yellow line was the perimeter on August 3.

Scroll down to see other maps.


(UPDATED at 2:20 p.m. PT, August 3, 2015)

map of Wolverine fire
3-D map showing the perimeter (in red) of the Wolverine Fire, looking northwest at 3 a.m. PT, August 3, 2015. The yellow line was the perimeter the previous day. The lake is Chelan.

The Wolverine Fire in north-central Washington grew by more than 8,000 acres on Sunday and has now burned about 24,500 acres. Most of the fire’s spread was on the south and west sides. It progressed a mile and a half up the Railroad Creek drainage on the west side and about three miles on the southwest side in the Clone Creek and Tumble Creek drainages. The fire perimeters are on the map above. Scroll down to see other maps of the fire.

Some of the peaks where the fire is burning now reach over a mile above Lake Chelan, the east boundary of the fire. Hopefully the firefighters will not be ferried by boat up the lake to the fire and have to hike to the ridge tops, like we did on the El Cariso Hotshots on the Safety Harbor Fire in that area in 1970. Going down, weeks later, we got a ride in a helicopter. I would have preferred it to be reversed. Fly up, walk down.


(Originally published at 3:29 p.m. PT, August 2, 2015)

Wolverine Fire
Fire activity on the Wolverine Fire, July 3, 2014. InciWeb photo.

The Wolverine Fire near the north end of Lake Chelan in north-central Washington slowly grew since it started on June 29 to 3,714 acres on July 31. That changed the next day when it more than quadrupled to 15,760 acres. (See the maps below.) After burning for more than a month, suddenly Level 3 evacuations were ordered for Holden Village and Holden Mine Remediation, which meant there was no time to grab anything — leave immediately. The evacuation was accomplished through a combined effort of Holden Village, Rio Tinto, Lake Chelan Boat Company, Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, and the US Forest Service. The incident management team provided more information:

Holden Village is not threatened but a Level 3 evacuation was necessary as Lucerne Landing was in danger which is the evacuation route for the Village.

A Level 3 evacuation has also been ordered for Lucerne, Riddle and Lightning Creek.

Sunday morning a Type 2 incident management team assumed command of the Wolverine Fire. They will be relieved Tuesday by a Type 1 team.

The Wolverine Fire has spread throughout the Burn Creek, South Lake Creek, and Forks Creek drainages and is well established in the Emerald Park Creek drainage.

It is on the 45-mile-long Lake Chelan, 23 air miles southwest of Twisp and 30 miles northwest of the city of Chelan.

Click on the maps below to see larger versions.

Wolverine Fire
Map of the Wolverine Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 8 p.m. PT August 1, 2015. The white line is from 24 hours before.

Wolverine Fire
3-D map of the Wolverine Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 8 p.m. PT August 1, 2015. The white line is from 24 hours before.
map of smoke Wolverine Fire
Smoke created by the Wolverine Fire, August 2, 2015.

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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.

7 thoughts on “Wolverine Fire in Washington continues to grow”

  1. I remember those fires of 1970! Was in high school at Chelan.

    Labor Day lighting storm left a fire riddled Lake Chelan! 27 by 9am is what I remember. The Micheal Cr. and Poison Cr merged and burnt all the way into the Methow thru Gold Cr and Black Canyon.

    The first snow’s put out the remaining fires in November.

    The 6X6 National Guard that rolled on the fire, had stopped at my dads gas station and ask for a wrench, the driver removed the “governor” which was just a bolt on the floorboard. Rolled two days later.

    Remember having to vacuum up the soot every morning out of the rest rooms at the station.

    The Carlton Complex of 2014 almost did the same territory, only in reverse fashion!!

    1. Yikes, I had forgotten about our 6X6 incident on that fire. We were going up the road and the truck ran off the road, with the driver yelling “jump out, the truck’s going to roll!”. Half the crew jumped out the uphill side and us on the other side jumped out and fell down the steep mountain slope. Fortunately, the truck did not roll down on top of us. It was remarkable that the crew got through that fire with only one serious injury (widowmaker from a large dead pine).

  2. I think most hotshots have been to Chelan. I know I’ve spent many months there total…..

  3. Bill, your memory is way better than mine and thanks for reminding me of the details and making the photo available. And yes, it was also my first fire. We trained for 2 weeks prior on how to battle chaparral fires, being told “we’ll teach you how to fight a real forest fire later because you won’t see one for a while”. My first shift assignment on the fire was cutting down burning tall pine snags with a Pulaski at night with embers raining down on me while melting the soles off of my Redwing boots. I learned a lot about firefighting since that time (thankfully).

  4. Bill, that looks a lot like the area we hiked into (via Goat Mtn.?) in 1970 for a two week battle on that Wenatchee fire.

    1. I remember it well. It was the Safety Harbor Fire, the first large fire I, and probably you, were on. We rode across Lake Chelan on a boat to the fire. We spent weeks spiking out on a ridge, eating frozen Continental Cuisine boiled in hair net bags.

      Here is a link to a photo I took of our crew, El Cariso HS, at that spike camp. One of the tubs for boiling the Continental Cuisine is in the foreground.

      Several times we got chased out of “the hole” when the fire blew up like clockwork every afternoon. One of those was a close call, but at the time I was too young and dumb to realize how serious it was. But looking back on it now —– Holy Crap!

      We spent at least one night across the lake in an apple orchard. On a day of R&R we were taken to Wenatchee, I think it was, where many of us bought our first pair of quality boots, Whites. We had the cost taken out of our pay using the commissary system which was a cool deal, since none of us had the cash with us to buy expensive boots. A couple of days later when a USFS clerk saw the invoices, she said, “Why are firefighters buying white boots? Won’t they just get dirty?”

      The Homelite Super XL chain saw I was using broke down on that fire and I needed an allen wrench to repair it, but didn’t have one. Ron Campbell, our Supt., used a file to make a wrench out of another file. It worked great. I fixed the saw and continued to use it the rest of the trip.

      1. Awesome pic & remembrance. Lucerne fire has been a real challenge for the firefighters. Wenatchee still has Whites!


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