Two fires in Okanogan County Washington have burned a total of 87,000 acres

Cub Creek 2 Fire and Cedar Creek Fire

Cedar Creek Fire, July 18, 2021
Cedar Creek Fire, July 18, 2021. InciWeb.

Two fires in north-central Washington that started the week of July 11 have burned a total of 87,000 acres in Okanogan County. Both are being managed by Type 1 Incident Management Teams. A map of evacuations in effect is at the County’s website. Highway 20 is likely to be closed through the end of July. (Current state highway conditions.) Both blazes are in steep, difficult to access terrain with heavy dead and down fuel loading.

A Smoke Blog has been established to provide information about current and predicted smoke and air quality conditions in Washington.

A heat advisory is in effect for Winthrop Thursday through Saturday for high temperatures near 100 each day. The wind at the city on Thursday and Friday will be generally from the south-southeast at 6 to 8 mph with humidity in the mid-teens. It will be cooler at the fires since Winthrop is at 1,800′ and the terrain on the fires ranges from 2,000′ to over 5,000′. Sunday will bring lower temperatures, humidity around 50 percent, and a 30 percent chance of thundershowers.

Cedar Creek Fire
This lightning-caused fire on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest south of Highway 20, three miles west of Winthrop was mapped July 28 at 35,685 acres. Wednesday it was very active near the head of Little Wolf Creek moving southwest through heavy fuels. It burned past the end of the dozer line that was being built to connect to Thompson Ridge.

The fire is backing down into Little Boulder Creek, Little Falls Creek, and Silver Star Creek.

Map of the Cedar Creek & Cub Creek 2 Fires
Map of the Cedar Creek & Cub Creek 2 Fires. The white lines were the perimeters on July 28. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:28 a.m. PDT July 29, 2021.

Cub Creek 2 Fire
This fire 5 miles north of Winthrop has burned 52,832 acres on lands protected by Okanogan County Fire District 6, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The cause is under investigation.

On Wednesday firefighters worked to tie in multiple hand lines, dozer lines, and existing road systems on the western and eastern flanks.  The smoke reduced the potential for significant fire growth, but the hot and dry temperatures allow it to keep burning in the lower drainages. Crews completed a strategic burning operation along Deer Creek and Sweet Grass Butte. With a significant warming trend beginning Thursday, the top priority for crews is to reduce any heat and fuels on the southeastern flank of the fire, especially near Ramsey  and Tripod Creeks.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Two fires in Okanogan County Washington have burned a total of 87,000 acres”

  1. Its painful to see the USFS thinking that “more LATS” will meet his needs.
    My guess is that if the agency “really” started hitting all fires at IA point with everything they have, and about twice the number of SEATS (as opposed to more LATS), they could get on these fire starts quickly and avoid the need for LATS after the fire blows up.
    The USFS needs to dump the current arrangement they have with Interior and contract for more SEATS on their own and create a new distribution of such in high risk areas where they can be shared with BLM. They do not need more LATS IF THEY GET COMMITTED TO BRINGING ALL THE RESOURCES THEY CAN MUSTER AT INITIAL ATTACK. Stop the foolhardy “monitoring” that’s going on.

    1. They let them burn so they can sell the timber without all the red tape. I’ve flown fire patrol. They will deny this, but it’s the truth. And you are correct in putting resources on fires that contain the fire immediately. They come up with more and more resources always a day late. Odd


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