Fire crews gain ground on Colockum Tarps fire


by KING 5 News and Associated Press

Posted on August 3, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Updated Sunday, Aug 4 at 5:06 PM

WENATCHEE, Wash. -- Firefighting crews worked Friday to complete the fire line along the western perimeter of the Colockum Tarps Fire, which has burned across 125 square miles south of Wenatchee.  They did not complete it. Fire continues to burn in the steep, timbered draws along the western flank of the fire, requiring the burning out of fuels inside of the remaining three miles of fire line construction.
Fire managers said crews would continue working Saturday and for 3-4 more days to complete the fire line.  The assignment requires reduction of heavy fuels inside the line within steep, forested draws along the top of ragged fire perimeter that encompasses the deep, timbered draws.

About 750 firefighters were assigned to the fire Saturday, which is 50 percent contained.

Firefighters in north-central Washington also are working to contain several small fires sparked by lightning on Thursday.

Jim Duck, operations coordinator for the region's Interagency Dispatch Center, said there were reports of new wildfires in Okanogan, Douglas and Kittitas counties.

Related: Statewide wildfire information

Eastern Washington has been under a red-flag warning for extreme threat of wildfires, with dry fuels and thunderstorms forecast with lightning and erratic winds.

Duck says some areas -- but not all -- reported rain from the storms, which will aid the firefighting efforts.

Fire officials say numerous structures and utility infrastructures remain threatened. Communities in Kittitas County are especially anxious after dealing with the Taylor Bridge Fire last year.

The Mile Marker 28 Fire near Goldendale, which has burned over 27,000 acres, is now 82 percent contained.

The Department of Natural Resources has issued a statewide burn ban on all lands under DNR protection, effective through September 30. The ban applies to all forestlands in Washington state, except federal lands, and prohibits campfires in all state, local and private campgrounds.