Air quality 'hazardous' at Wenatchee Complex wildfires

Air quality 'hazardous' at Wenatchee Complex wildfires

Credit: KING

Air quality was considered hazardous due to smoke from the Wenatchee Complex fires in Central Washington, Sept. 12, 2012.


by KING 5 News

Posted on September 12, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Firefighters battling wildfires near Wenatchee made some progress overnight Tuesday, but health officials called the air quality in the area "hazardous" and were telling residents to take precautions.

Dozens of lightning-caused wildfires are part of the Wenatchee Complex in Chelan and Okanogan Counties. The biggest concern for fire bosses is that the flames are close to densely packed subdivisions. About 250 evacuation orders or varying levels are in place, but no homes have been lost.

Winds worked in the favor of firefighters overnight, allowing them to set back fires to force the flames to burn in on themselves.

The big concern Wednesday morning was the air quality. People in the area reported it was getting harder to breathe and some residents who have been allowed to return home are staying away because of it. The local health district warns people to stay indoors. Children, the elderly and people with respiratory illnesses should limit outdoor activity.

A public briefing will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Riverside Center, 201 Riverside Drive in Cashmere. The public can also get updates on the Wenatchee Complex Twitter account.

The Byrd Canyon Fire started Saturday about 5 miles north of Entiat is now estimated at 7,500 – 9,000 acres.

Evacuations remain in place for the following areas affected by the Byrd Canyon Fire: List of evacuation orders

  • Downey Canyon – Level 1 (Residents should be ready to evacuate if conditions change)
  • State Route 971 Navarre Coulee Road (east side) – Level 2 (Residents should be ready to go at a moment’s notice.)
  • State Route 971 Navarre Coulee Road (west side) – Level 3 (Residents advised to evacuate because homes are in imminent danger; will not be allowed to return until danger decreases)
  • State Route 97A Tunnel to Davis Canyon – Level 3
  • State Route 97A from Byrd Canyon to State Route 971 – Level 3

The First Creek Fire has burned 20 acres about 9 miles northwest of Chelan.

The Canyons Fire has combined with the Twin Peaks fire and is more than 1,000 acres. It’s burning about a mile southwest of Wenatchee.

Level 3 evacuation notification is in place for residents in the Broadview Subdivision facing wildland areas. Homes in the interior of the Broadview Subdivision are under a Level 2 evacuation (but no homes below the canal).

  • 40 homes west of Sage Hills Drive – Level 3
  • Number 2 Canyon from above the Gun Club to the end of the road – Level 3
  • Stiss Canyon – Level 3 evacuation.
  • Number 2 Canyon west of Castle Heights to the Gun Club is at Level 2
  • Castle Heights Drive – Level 2
  • Kings Court – Level 2
  • Canyon Side – Level 2
  • Lindille Drive – Level 2
  • Queens Court – Level 2

Increase in fire behavior in the three fires burning in the Mission Creek drainage have caused a Level 3 evacuation notification for 54 residences on Mission Creek Road from the Shelton Christmas Tree Farm to the national forest boundary.

Related links:

InciWeb - Wenatchee Complex Fire