Twentyfive Mile Fire prompts evacuations at Lake Chelan, Washington

Estimated at 4,200 acres Monday evening

9:03 p.m. PDT Aug. 16, 2021

Map of the Twentyfive Mile Fire
Map of the Twentyfive Mile Fire at 5 p.m. PDT Aug. 16, 2021. The red shaded area represents intense heat. Scroll down for a map with a wider view.

A mapping flight of the Twentyfive Mile Fire at 5 p.m. Monday determined the fire had burned 4,262 acres and had spread into the footprint of the 2015 First Creek Fire.

Fire personnel reported that they expect the strong northwest winds predicted through Tuesday will push the fire unchecked to the south and east toward the community of Chelan. Lack of resources will hamper any ability for containment, they said.

A Type 3 Incident Management Team is in place and a Type 2 team has been ordered and will arrive on Wednesday.

11:53 a.m. PDT August 16, 2021

The Incident Management team released information about the Twentyfive Mile Fire at 11:00 Monday morning. They estimate the size at 4,000 acres, up from the 2,000 estimated Sunday evening. One structure has been destroyed and 135 are threatened.

The incident is under the joint jurisdiction of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and Chelan County Fire District 7. A Type 3 Incident Management Team led by Incident Commander Escobar assumed command  at 6:00 a.m. today. Additional resources are continuing to arrive to supplement the 150 on scene.

Aircraft will be using Lake Chelan as a water source for dipping and scooping, so boaters are advised to give them a wide berth.

9:49 a.m. PDT August 16, 2021

3-D map of the Twentyfive Mile Fire
3-D map of the Twentyfive Mile Fire looking southwest at 2:41 a.m. PDT August 16, 2021.

A fire reported at 3:45 p.m. Sunday near Lake Chelan in Washington quickly grew to about 2,000 acres. Satellite data indicates that it is burning on both sides of Twentyfive Mile Creek; hence the name, Twentyfive Mile Fire. (See the map above.)

The blaze is on the west side of Lake Chelan at the north end of South Lakeshore Road 14 miles northwest of Chelan and 7 miles northwest of Manson near Grouse Mountain Campground.

Satellite heat sensing data shows that it has burned close to Lake Chelan. With Sunday’s fire behavior described by personnel on scene as “extremely long-range spotting”, it is not inconceivable that the Twentyfive Mile Fire could spot across mile-wide Lake Chelan — IF it was burning very intensely with a strong south or west wind. At 2:41 a.m. satellite data showed the fire was about two miles by two miles.

Map of the Twentyfive Mile Fire Washington Lake Chelan
Map of the Twentyfive Mile Fire. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:41 a.m. PDT Aug 16, 2021. North is at the top of the map.

Mandatory “leave now” evacuations are in effect. Chelan County has a map showing the areas for “level 3” (go now), “level 2” (get set to leave immediately if necessary), and “level 1” (get ready to leave). Yes, the evacuation nomenclature is confusing.

A weather station that may be within the fire perimeter (WAOWF QD 1702) recorded 5 mph winds out of the north and northwest Sunday with 8 to 18 mph gusts while the relative humidity was in the teens and the temperature was in the 90s. At 8:30 Monday morning it was 71 degrees, 37 percent RH, with very little wind. The forecast for the fire area Monday afternoon calls for 13 mph winds out of the northwest gusting to 20 mph, 80 degrees, and 30 percent RH. On Tuesday the northwest winds will increase to 16 mph gusting at 22 to 30, but with the RH around 40 percent and an 18 percent chance of rain Monday night and Tuesday.

There are two other fires from 2013 and 2014 with similar names as you can see on the map below. The current Twentyfive Mile Fire started in an area that has not burned in at least 21 years. There were two large fires in 2004 to the north and south. On the southeast side is the footprint of the 2015 First Creek Fire which it may have already burned into.

Fire history Twentyfive Mile Fire
Fire history since 2000, vicinity of the Twentyfive Mile Fire

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Kelly.