Okanogan complex largest fire in Washington history

Okanogan Complex
Okanogan Complex. Fire perimeter as of Aug. 24, 2015.

The Okanogan complex fires have grown into the largest wildfire in Washington history at more than 256,567 acres, surpassing last year’s record-setting Carlton complex fires, which burned 256,108 acres.

The complex is now made up of what were five fires — the Twisp River fire, the Lime Belt fire, the Beaver Lake fire, the Blue Lake fire and the Tunk Block fire. The Lime Belt, Beaver Lake and Blue Lake fires have merged, according to the latest perimeter information from the U.S. Forest Service.

The two main branches of the fire — the merged Lime Belt fires and the Tunk Block fire — have burned more than 100,000 acres each.

The latest perimeter maps for the complex, taken from infrared data on Aug. 24, do not include the Twisp fire.

As of Aug. 24, more than 500 utility customers remain without power in Okanogan County, since the fire complex has destroyed more than 500 utility poles, according to the Okanogan County Public Utility District. It will take a week to restore power to some areas, while it could take a few weeks to restore power to others.

The Chelan complex fires (see below) also continued to rage south of the Okanogan complex. Infrared flights on Aug. 24 showed that the fire had grown 509 acres, expanding the fire perimeter to 87,830 acres.

Overall, the fire’s heat has dropped, particularly in the perimeter’s southern and eastern quadrants (highlighted blue area on the map). These quadrants were not scanned by IR flights on Aug. 24, since there has been little heat in those areas for several nights, according to flight information.

Chelan Complex fire perimeter as of Aug. 24, 2015.
Chelan complex fire perimeter as of Aug. 24, 2015.