Fire Crews Gain 10 Percent Containment on Complex Burning Near Twisp
TWISP (AP) — Fire officials in Washington state say a complex of wildfires burning in north-central Washington is about 10 percent contained.
Spokesman Dan Omdal says containment does not mean the fire has stopped burning. It
means it has run out of fuel to burn in that area, either because it has hit a man-made fire line, or a retardant drop or a road or lake.
The Okanogan Complex of fires has burned more than 375 square miles. Omdal says some of the land within the fire lines is still on fire, but other sections have been tamed.
"We are making progress," he said.
Infrared mapping found the fires spread about 19 square miles Saturday evening.
Fire spokeswoman Suzanne Flory feared some explosive fire growth Sunday if a cap of smoke lifts from Okanogan County, as has been forecast. When the smoke lifts on a wildfire, humidity drops, heat rises and fires can flare up. Flory says it's similar to what happens when the flue is opened on a fireplace.
Flory says the good news is that less smokes means restrictions on air travel will be lifted and more fire tankers can fly over and drop water and chemical retardant.
Meanwhile, county officials have downgraded some evacuation notices, allowing some people to return to their homes. Sarah Miller, a spokeswoman with Okanogan County Emergency Management, says residents have been warned to stay ready to leave at any time and to not drive around looking at the fires. She says some people have been getting in the way of firefighting operations.
In all, 16 large wildfires are burning across central and eastern Washington, covering more than 920 square miles. More than 200 homes have been destroyed and more than 12,000 homes and thousands of other structures remain threatened.