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Officials update the community on Uno Peak Fire; minimal fire growth under smoky skies at 6,900 acres

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Forrest Ownbey a fire behavior analyst speaks to the community members who attended the Sept. 6, 2017 informative meeting regarding the Uno Peak Fire. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

UPDATE Sept 7, 2017 Uno Peak Fire report and images included below meeting report.

The Northwest Incident Management Team #10 assigned to the Uno Peak Fire held an informative meeting at Manson High School on Sept. 6, 2017, to update the community of Lake Chelan on the status of the Uno Peak Fire. The fire started on August 30 approximately 15 miles northwest of Manson, WA between Little Goat Mountain and Big Goat Mountain.

Officials used a map to illustrate the size and location of the fire as well as the terrain in the area which includes steep cliff sides and drainage areas. Forrest Ownbey, a fire behavior analyst for the team, spoke to attendees explaining that dry foliage is also causing difficulties in the battle.

A map shows the current expanse and location of the Uno Peak Fire which is estimated at 6,900 acres. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

Incident Commander Al Lawson addresses the public in the Manson to express confidence in the team and a plan to fight the Uno Peak Fire. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

“We have 10-hour fuels and 1,000-hour fuels,” Ownbey said, referring to logs and branches that vary in diameter. “Those fuels are at critical levels, almost as dry as they have ever been. Because of no rain and everything else, those fuels are very dry. The grasses have also cured and the brush as well. Those are all fuels out there contributing to the fire spread.”

Other speakers included officials from local agencies who came together to sign the request for a Type 2 Management Team just two days after the start of the fire. One of these officials included Manson (Chelan 5) Fire Chief Arnold Baker who explained that following the swift change in circumstances of the 2002 Deer Point Fire, the department wasted no time in requesting resources to battle the blaze before it could threaten the nearby town of Manson, WA.

Manson (Chelan 5) Fire Chief Arnold Baker explains the department’s role in the Uno Peak Fire management and how the community can assist the department through preparedness. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

“We sped up the process to make sure the legal side is done and effective to protect our community,” Baker stated. “In 2002, the fire was several miles away, and then one day it was in our fire district. I don’t want that, but if we get a wind event we will be at risk, so we will be ready to take action immediately.”

Baker went on to recommend that community members prepare to be fire resistant by taking care of dry brush and overgrowth on their properties.

“We are not going to have a fire truck for every house,” Baker stated. “The less each household needs the more time we have for fire protection, so I need your help.”

Al Lawson Incident Commander for NW Team #10 concluded the discussions by expressing confidence that the team will win the battle against the fire. Finally, Lawson reminded the community of the over 200 firefighters working the fire.

City of Chelan Mayor Mike Cooney (back-right) and Parks Director Karen Sargeant attend the informative meeting on the Uno Peak Fire on Sept. 6, 2017. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

“My number one priority is the people out on the fire line. There is nothing more valuable than the lives we have on the line,” Lawson stated. “These are our children, our husbands and wives and their safety is my number one priority.”

The community is encouraged to enroll in the Alert Sense Notification System, which is a free service that alerts residents to weather, fire and county alerts. 

There was significant activity on Uno Peak on Sept. 4, 2017. This image illustrates the source of the smoke seen around the region, which is in the NE corner of the fire. (Photo courtesy of NW Incident Management Team #10)

UNO PEAK FIRE UPDATE Sept. 7, 2017

Yesterday, smoke from Montana fires covered the fire area and kept temperatures lower and relative humidity higher than forecasted. However, fire behavior remains active. Smoky skies continued to impact air operations by reducing visibility to less than a mile. A small spot occurred over the 8200 Road but was extinguished.

The Canoe Creek area to the west and the Llama Ranch area to the southeast remain under a Level 1 evacuation. And indirect handline was constructed down to Lake Chelan between Falls Creek and Coyote Creek. Crews finished constructing a dozerline along Coyote Ridge.

Firefighters digging fire line on the Uno Peak Fire. (Photo courtesy of NW Incident Management Team #10)

Today, fire crews will work to get a fire hose and pumps along the Coyote Ridge area. Structure protection continues in the Llama Ranch and Canoe Creek areas. Additional resources are being used for assessing and constructing a line along the 8200 Road from the South Navarre Campground along Nelson Butte Ridge south towards Lake Chelan.

Crews continue working around steep terrain, with very poor access to the fire. Snags and downed wood are common in this area.

Thursday (Sep. 7) through Saturday (Sep 9), critical fire weather concerns are in the forecast. There is a slight risk of thunderstorms possible Thursdy night. Northwesterly winds will set up early Friday morning, aligning with peak down-valley winds across Lake Chelan.

Firefighters plumbing fire line on the Uno Peak Fire. (Photo courtesy of NW Incident Management Team #10)

  • Completion: 1%
  • Acres: 6,900
  • Start Date: August 30, 2017
  • Cause: Under Investigation
  • Location: 15 miles NW of Manson, WA
  • Total Personnel: 233
  • Fuels/Topography: Timber, grass, rugged terrain

Heavy smoke from the Uno Peak Fire, as well as many others around the region, will stay in the valleys in the morning due to an air inversion that will lift later in the day. After the inversion lifts, expect smoke to continue to drift down Lake Chelan. It will be highly visible from the communities of Manson, Chelan, Pateros, Brewster and Twisp. More information about smoke and your health is available at wasmoke.blogspot.com/

Closures from the South Fork Gold Creek to Crater Creek in the Methow Valley have been implemented. Current closures include the Grade Creek Rd (from the intersection with FS 8200-117 (Oss Peak Rd) to the intersection with FS 4330-600 (South Fork Gold Creek Rd)/FS 8020 (Cooper Ridge Rd) is closed.

Trail closures include Uno Peak Trail, Safety Harbor Trail, Summit Trail (From South Navarre Campground to junction with FS Trail 1258), Summer Blossom, Foggy Dew, Crater Creek and Martin Lakes. The Deer Point and Safety Harbor Campgrounds are also closed. Foggy Dew Campground remains open.

More information and updates can be found at the Uno Peak Fire page in InciWeb.

Felling more snags on the Uno Peak Fire, Sept. 6, 2017 (Credit: Rob Lionberger, DNR, Courtesy of NW Incident Management Team #10)

(Meeting report by Jillian Foster, Fire report submitted by NW Incident Management Team #10)

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