Quick summary of wildfires in Washington and Oregon

GOES 17 satellite photo, wildfires, 6:36 p.m. PDT July 18, 2021

There are at least five large significant wildfires currently burning in Washington and Oregon. Here is a quick and dirty summary. The acreages were as of Saturday evening, but all were putting up large smoke plumes Sunday easily seen from a satellite.

Working north to south, starting in Washington:

Cub Creek 2 Fire
4,690 acres, 5 miles north of Winthrop, Washington. Numerous residences are threatened. Evacuations are in effect, including for pack animals, mules from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest who were relocated to their winter pasture.

pack mules on the Oka-Wen
pack mules on the Oka-Wen

The north flank of the Cub Creek 2 remains unchecked. Retardant from very large air tankers, water scooping planes, and helicopters with buckets are providing support to firefighters in all locations of the fire. It is burning north pushed by diurnal winds during the day and smoke pushed down south during the late evening and morning.

Cedar Creek Fire
4,080 acres, 12 air miles northwest of Winthrop, Washington, very close to Highway 20. The western perimeter of the fire has burned onto a ridgeline with sparse fuels, slowing the spread. On the southern portion of the fire, growth has been minimal as it burns in subalpine areas with minimal vegetation. The northeastern portion remains the most active.

Summit Trail Fire
2,031 acres, 17 miles west of Inchelium. It has only been burning for three days. On Saturday crews continued to build direct fire line. There was fire growth on the north-northwest side of the fire, and crews scouted Upper Ridge Creek Road, developing a plan to prep and hold the fire along the road.

Due to limited resources the fire continued to spread Saturday to the  northeast at a moderate rate of spread, but that pace increased Sunday.

And in Oregon:

Jack Fire
16,764 acres, on both sides of Highway 138, 9 miles northwest of Clearwater. South of Highway 138, firefighters continue burnout operations to build primary line on the west and southwest flanks. On the southeast side, crews will continue to use heavy machinery to clear and brush out roads used as control lines.

Bootleg Fire
298,662 acres, 30 miles northeast of Klamath Falls. The Bootleg Fire continued to push further into Lake County for a distance of five miles on the north side and ten on the east side. It remains about four to five miles north of Highway 140. It was extremely active again on Sunday, as can be seen in the satellite photo above.

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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.

5 thoughts on “Quick summary of wildfires in Washington and Oregon”

  1. Please allow Forest Mngt to do their job. Also logging was helpful for the health of forestry. We didn’t have these horrible out of control fires when these institutions were managing the forests.

  2. I totally agree with Larry! Why the heck don’t the government have military out there helping fight these fires? Ya just can’t fix stupid!!!

  3. They should have the military help put these fires out. There just staying on base getting paid and there are thousand s of them if not more. I had a fire on my property about 6 years ago and they sent a prison crew to put it out and I could not thank them enough. God please send us rain.

  4. My home is about a mile N of where the fire started (rumored to be started by someone welding irrigation pipes). When I saw the smoke I grabbed the dogs and go bags and skedaddled (all of the exit routes are to the south, so this involved driving towards the scary smoke column rushing up the hill).

    At this point pretty much everything around my home has burnt, but my home is more or less intact. I give much credit to quick action by fire crews, my neighbors who stayed and fought the fire, and my efforts at knocking back everything but bunchgrass within fifty feet of the house (and the bunchgrass within about a dozen feet of the house is trimmed to three inches). Between all of those things and a not inconsiderable amount of luck my home was saved, even in the face of a fire backed by 25mph winds roaring uphill (which easily crossed both a road and a ten-foot dozer line).

    So once I can fix the well (the major casualty of all this excitement) and it is safe to stay up there I will be back home…


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