CHELAN, Wash. -- More than 2,600 firefighters and support personnel are out fighting large fires in Washington state and 200 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord will join the fight.
The soldiers will begin training on Wednesday and will be deployed to an as-yet undetermined wildfire on Sunday.
"We are committed to continuing to do everything we can to provide the firefighters, aircraft, engines, and other wildfire suppression assets that Incident Commanders need to protect lives, property, and valuable natural and cultural resources to suppress the most challenging wildfires we've experienced in several years," said Aitor Bidaburu, Chair of National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group.
The National Preparedness Level is currently at 5, the highest level, indicating a high level of wildfire activity and a high level of commitment of available wildfire suppression assets, such as firefighters, aircraft, and engines.
2700 on level 3 evacuation
Several large fires continue to threaten homes in the Chelan area.
The Chelan Complex (formerly called the Reach Complex) is no longer the number one priority fire in the country, but fire managers say it remains in the second or third spot. About 1,000 fire personnel are battling the fires, which has charred more than 155 square miles.
Chelan is still considered under "potential future threat" category. Emergency managers have confirmed 32 residential structures have been destroyed. That number is expected rise to between 50 and 75 structures –- a mix of commercial buildings and homes - as they continue counting.
Chelan Emergency Management officials say about 2,700 people are under a Level 3 evacuation order. As many as 100 homes are considered threatened. No injuries have been reported.
Fire incident spokesman Wayne Patterson says air tankers have established lines to keep the flames from reaching downtown Chelan, a popular central Washington resort town.
More crews and more resources were arriving Monday to fight the fires.
"There's just a tremendous strain on the system as it is," said Rob Allen, deputy incident commander. "Everybody would like more of whatever it is they're looking for. We're feeling pretty lucky in that we have the (National) Guard. We got the DNR crews, we've got some hotshot crews. We probably have more helicopters than any other fire going on in Washington for sure."
Lower temperatures helped firefighters Sunday, but hot temperatures and low humidity are expected this week.
Fire authorities are being cautious about where they deploy firefighters due to the unpredictable nature of the fires.
Chelan Public Utility crews worked late into the night on Sunday to restore power after as many as 100 power poles were damaged in the fire. Crews focused on restoring power to the south shore of Lake Chelan.
Chelan PUD said 600 customers in the Chelan Valley were still without power.
LEVEL 3 areas
- Purttleman Gulch
- Swanson Gulch
- Cooper Gulch
- Butte Road South
- W. High Ave.
- E. Hawks Meadow
- Little Butte Rd.
- West of High School, south end of road
- Howard Flats
- Goodwin Road
- Chelan Falls
- Antoine Creek
- Washington Creek
- Apple Acres Rd. (includes Apple Acres Trailer Park)
- Navarre Coulee
- South Shore from Sunnybank to Fields Point
- Union Valley
- Cagle Gulch
- All residences from Slidewaters to Hawks Meadow (south side of US 97A)
LEVEL 2 evacuations
- Buzzard Perch Lane
- Purtteman Gulch
- Cooper Gulch
- Swanson Gulch
- Navarre Coulee/South Shore from Sunnybank to the State Park
On Monday morning, air quality sensors showed that conditions were unhealthy for sensitive groups. Precautions to take - people with asthma, respiratory infection, diabetes, lung or heart disease, or have had a stroke should stay indoors. Infants, children, pregnant women and adults over age 65 should also stay indoors.
Red Cross Shelters
Entiat Valley Community Resource Center 2084 Entiat Way, Entiat
Sterling Middle School, 600 N. James, East Wenatchee
Brewster Middle/High School, 503 S. 7th St., Brewster
Pets are welcome with the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society – Animal Control. at 1474 S. Wenatchee Ave. Please call ahead at 509-662-9577 (ext. 1), leave a message and they will reply immediately.
Large animals are welcome with the Tillicum Riders at 123 Kimber Rd in Cashmere. Enter through the second gate and bring food and a water bucket if possible. Contact Naila with questions at 509-699-7655.
KING 5, along with sister stations NWCN and KGW 8 (Portland) have launched a region wide Northwest Response fundraising effort to support the American Red Cross.
The Community Foundation of North Central Washington has established the Chelan Valley Relief Fund to help support those affected by the wildfires in the Chelan area.
Facebook: Wolverine Fire
Road & Hwy Info: wsdot.com
Smoke Info: http://wasmoke.blogspot.com/
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest: http://goo.gl/nXrciP
Okanogan-Wenatchee National ForestCampground, trails, road closure information
Chelan Co. Emergency Management: https://goo.gl/ekuHGZ