Crescent Mountain Fire burns tens of thousands of acres west of Winthrop Washington

The fire is in north-central Washington 10 miles west of Winthrop

Above: The Crescent Mountain Fire on August 15, 2018. Inciweb photo.

(Originally published at 1:50 p.m. PDT August 24, 2018)

The Crescent Mountain Fire in north-central Washington has burned over 40,000 acres since a lightning strike started it on July 29. The fire is being managed at least in some areas as a less than full suppression fire. One of the primary reasons as you can see in the 3-D map below, is that the west side is burning into sparse vegetation above 7,000 feet in steep, remote, inaccessible terrain.

3-d map Crescent Mountain Fire
A 3-D map looking northwest at the Crescent Mountain Fire, the red line, at 9 p.m. PDT August 23, 2018. The red shaded areas indicate intense heat at the time the fire was mapped by a heat-sensing aircraft. Click to enlarge.

The fire is about 10.5 miles west of both Twisp and Winthrop, Washington.

map Crescent Mountain Fire
Vicinity map of the Crescent Mountain Fire in the state of Washington.

Evacuation orders are in effect for West Buttermilk Creek Road and Twisp River Road, west of the Buttermilk Creek intersection.

Northwest winds on Thursday caused the fire to be very active. The area with the greatest growth was on the south slope above the Twisp River on both sides of Scaffold Canyon and up to Scaffold Ridge. It has burned down to the West Fork of Buttermilk Creek.

Firefighters provided structural protection and assistance to homes along the Twisp River corridor throughout the day Thursday. Air operations were able to effectively slow the advance of the fire.

On the southwest side crews continue to monitor the fire within North Cascades National Park. Most of the fire is on land administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

map Crescent Mountain Fire
The red line on the map was the perimeter of the Crescent Mountain Fire at 9 p.m. PDT August 23, 2018. The red shaded areas indicate intense heat at the time the fire was mapped by a heat-sensing aircraft. Click to enlarge.

Wildfire activity increases in Washington

The state has 18 wildfires with varying levels of evacuations in effect

Firefighters in Washington state have been very busy recently, especially Saturday when 68 new fires were detected, primarily in the eastern part of the state. Abundant lightning accompanied by strong winds and very dry fuels created critical fire conditions.

They currently have 18 fires with varying levels of evacuations in effect.

map large wildfires Washington
Map showing some of the large wildfires in Washington, August 12, 2018. Click to enlarge.

One of the largest is the 45,000-acre Grass Valley Fire that started August 11 west of Grand Coulee Dam. Firefighters report extreme fire behavior with running and spotting. Evacuations and road closures are in effect.

The Cougar Creek Fire has burned 18,890 acres 25 mi west of Chelan, WA. The fire is exhibiting extreme fire behavior. Evacuations are in effect.

The 15,975-acre Crescent Mountain Fire is 16 miles west of Winthrop, WA.

lighting strikes August 11, 2018

Boylston Fire in Washington grows to 70,000 acres overnight

On Friday the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 were closed

Above: Photo of the Boylston Fire taken by the Washington DNR Ahtanum crew when they were evacuating the Wanapum recreational area Thursday night.

(Originally published at 10:08 a.m. PDT July 20, 2018)

A very rapidly spreading wildfire in Washington forced the closure Friday of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 east of Kittitas in the area of milepost 122. The Boylston Fire was reported late in the afternoon Thursday July 19 and by 10 a.m. Friday fire officials estimated it had grown to 70,000 acres.

The fire is burning mostly south of Interstate 90 between Ellensburg and Mattawa. It apparently started near the Interstate and spread southeast about 13 miles to the Columbia River.

map Boylston Fire Washington
The red dots represent heat on the Boylston, L RD SW, and Buckshot Fires detected by a satellite at 4 a.m. PDT July 20, 2018. It is likely that in some areas with light fuels, such as grass, the fire could have burned and cooled in between satellite overflights, and therefore was not detected in those areas. Click to enlarge.

Some areas on the Boylston Fire are difficult for ground crews to access.

A Type 2 Incident Management Team is en route.

The Red Flag Warning for the area on Friday will not give firefighters a break. The forecast calls for relative humidity of 12 to 25 percent and winds out of the west at 10 to 20 mph gusting to 25.

Red Flag Warning, July 20, 2018
Red Flag Warning, July 20, 2018.

There are two other smaller fires in the same general area, southeast of the Boylston Fire. The Buckshot Fire is on the east side of the Columbia River southwest of Mattawa. A fire with an unfortunate name, the “L RD SW Fire” is farther east near the intersection of Highways 24 and 243, and is also near the river.

These three fires are 27 to 36 miles northeast of Yakima, Washington.

Regarding the Tweet below, at 10 a.m. PDT Friday, fire officials estimated the Boylston Fire had burned 70,000 acres.

Milepost 22 Fire threatens homes in Central Washington

The fire is near the Columbia River 19 miles east of Ellensburg

Above: The Milepost 22 Fire, Wednesday night. Photo by Washington State DNR.

(UPDATED at 10:53 a.m. PDT June 21, 2018)

The Washington State DNR announced at about 10 a.m. Friday that the Milepost 22 fire has burned approximately 4,000 to 5,000 acres.

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(Originally published at 7:32 a.m. PDT June 21, 2018)

A fire that started late Wednesday afternoon is threatening homes in Central Washington. The Milepost 22 Fire was first reported about two miles north of Interstate 90. Since then it has burned at least 1,750 acres, according to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

The blaze is just west of Wanapum Lake on the Columbia River at Vantage, Washington and is on both sides of the Vantage Highway which is parallel to and north of Interstate 90. The highway was closed Wednesday afternoon due to downed power lines, but the Interstate remained open.

map Milepost 22 Fire
Map showing heat detected on the Milepost 22 Fire by a satellite at 3:25 a.m. PDT June 21, 2018. Click to enlarge.

Thursday morning the DNR reported that the fire was still growing. A Type 3 Incident Management Team will assume command of the fire at 6 a.m. Thursday.

The weather forecast for the fire area Thursday calls for temperature in the mid-80s, relative humidity in the low 30’s, and wind out of the northwest at 11 to 18 mph gusting at 18-25.

Milepost 22 Fire
The Milepost 22 Fire, Wednesday night. Photo by Washington State DNR.

Teen who started Eagle Creek Fire ordered to pay $36.6 million in restitution

Above: 3-D map of the Eagle Creek Fire looking southeast, showing the perimeter at 7:30 p.m. PDT September 5, 2017.

A judge has ordered the teen who started the Eagle Creek Fire last summer to pay restitution totaling $36.6 million.

After a complaint from the teen’s attorney that the judgement was “absurd” District Judge John Olson said during the hearing on Monday that it was “clearly proportionate to the offense”.

Eagle Creek Fire
Firefighters protect the Multnomah Lodge at the Eagle Creek Fire, September 5, 2017. Inciweb.

The fire burned 48,831 acres in the Columbia River Gorge in September, 2017. Most of the fire was on the Oregon side of the river but a burning ember started a spot fire on the Washington side which was quickly extinguished.  The fire required the extended closure of Interstate 84, forced hundreds to evacuate, and poured smoke into Portland.

The judge acknowledged that the teen will have trouble coming up with $36.6 million and allowed him to establish a payment plan. If he completes probation and does not have any additional offenses, after 10 years the court may  grant a full or partial halt of the restitution.

Teenager accused of starting Eagle Creek Fire likely to get probation

The fire burned over 48,000 acres in Columbia River Gorge in September, 2017

Above:  Photo of the Eagle Creek Fire posted September 5, 2017.

(Originally published at 12:53 p.m. MT February 10, 2018)

February 16 is the sentencing date for the boy who was 15 years old when he allegedly started the Eagle Creek Fire near the Washington/Oregon border in the Columbia River Gorge. A witness reported seeing the Vancouver juvenile throw a “smoke bomb” into vegetation near the Eagle Creek trail on September 2, 2017. In less than 24 hours the fire grew to 3,000 acres and to 20,000 acres by the morning of September 5.

Eventually burning 48,831 acres, it required the extended closure of Interstate 84, forced hundreds to evacuate, and poured smoke into Portland.

Eagle Creek Fire
A view across the Eagle Creek suspension bridge after a support cable pulled free during or after the fire. The bridge and cables hang near the stream. It will probably be removed before it causes more resource damage.

Because the boy is a juvenile, Oregon Live reports, the options for sentencing include years of probation, probably less than eight days of detention, or about a year in a juvenile correctional facility.

If the judge requires restitution for the costs of suppressing and rehabbing the fire, which are reportedly more than $18 million, the boy will likely only be able to pay a small fraction of the total.

Eagle Creek Fire
The Oneonta Tunnel burned during the Eagle Creek Fire. Rocks are falling from the burned slopes above onto Hwy. 30 and the trail, creating a hazard that will grow worse with winter rains.
Eagle Creek Fire
There is some fire damage near the Multnomah Falls, but the main falls area was mostly spared. Rocks falling in the vicinity of the falls and lodge are concerns.

Articles on Wildfire Today tagged “Eagle Creek Fire”.

(All photos are from InciWeb)