Mills Canyon burn out planned for Tuesday - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mills Canyon burn out planned for Tuesday

Posted: Updated:

UPDATE: ENTIAT, Wash. - A burn out operation is planned for Tuesday morning in an effort to establish a secure line in the bottom of the canyon where the Mills Canyon Fire is burning. Burning material rolling downhill and igniting spot fires on the north side of Swakane Canyon have caused concerns and indicate a vulnerability to a fire escape and repeatedly expose firefighters to very steep terrain and rolling material.

Preventing fire from crossing the Swakane Canyon is viewed as a critical link in averting a potentially devastating run southward. Establishing a secure line in the bottom of the canyon will greatly reduce the threat of escape.

Fire suppression personnel will begin approximately four miles up the canyon from Highway 97A and work their way back out to the highway. The objective is to reduce the energy and momentum of the fire front before it reaches new containment lines on the bottom of the valley. As the term implies, a burn out is literally fighting fire with fire by lighting successive narrow strips of fire parallel to the line progressively further interior from the line. The desired result is to consume enough of the fuel near the ground without allowing it to establish in the tree tops or other aerial fuels. Thus depriving the approaching fire front of fuel in its path.

Burn outs can produce copious amounts of smoke that can be mistaken for increased fire activity and cause considerable concern for the observing public. Smoke may also necessitate closures on Highway 97A. Tomorrow’s operation is expected to begin at approximately 10:00 a.m. It is possible the operation may be delayed to later in the week if conditions are not deemed favorable. Local media outlets will be kept abreast of developments and the Fire Information office telephones will be staffed to answer questions or concerns.

UPDATE: ENTIAT, Wash. (AP) - A wildfire burning in central Washington grew to 35 square miles on Sunday.

Officials say they've strengthened containment lines on the Mills Canyon Fire burning near Entiat (EHN'-tee-aht). But they're still worried about the potential for dry lightning and wind to kick up the fire on Monday.

Officials are calling the fire 25 percent contained on Monday morning.

Residents of several dozen homes have been told to evacuate. People living in another 500 homes have been warned to be prepared to leave, if the fire gets closer.

The National Weather Service says thunderstorms with dry lightning were expected in the area.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

UPDATE: ENTIAT, Wash. - As of Sunday morning the Mills Canyon fire remains at the same acreage as yesterday, 21,823. The containment has improved to 25% and personnel has increased to 781. Today's challenge according to U.S. Forest Service, is the weather front coming from Oregon that is bringing dry lightning around 2 p.m. They also expect personnel to increase throughout the day.

UPDATE: ENTIAT, Wash.- As of Saturday morning the Mills Canyon fire near Entiat has burned more than 21,000 acres. Right now there are 763 total people that is fighting the fire and it is at 22% containment. The road closure for Hwy. 97 has been lifted, that road runs from Entiat River Road to Wenatchee. 528 homes are under level 1-3 evacuation, 42 of those homes are under mandatory evacuations. 

UPDATE: ENTIAT, Wash. (AP) - The Mills Canyon fire near Entiat has burned across more than 18,000 acres since it started Tuesday.  Crews worked throughout the night protecting structures in the vicinity of Roaring Creek and Dinkelman Canyon.  The establishment of a fire containment line allowed the Hwy. 97A road closure to be lifted for a short time, but has since been closed due to firefighting efforts in that area.

There are 650 people working on this fire which is currently at 19% containment.  Cause of the fire is still currently under investigation.

About 40 miles away, on the west side of Lake Chelan, the new 25-Mile Fire quickly burned across 350 acres by Thursday evening. Some residents have been told to leave their homes.


UPDATE: Entiat, Wash. - The size of the Mills Canyon Fire has been listed by command at 6,171 acres, this is down from an earlier estimation of 7,000 acres.  There are currently 408 firefighters battling the fire which is at 0% containment.  Hwy. 97A from Entiat River road to Wenatchee, WA is under a Level 3 evacuation with 109 homes being evacuated.  There is a level 2 evacuation order affecting 122 homes, from Entiat River rd. to Roaring Creek rd.
UPDATE:
ENTIAT, Wash. (AP) - About 250 firefighters attacked the Mills Canyon fire near Entiat on Wednesday that has blackened nearly 10 square miles and threatened dozens of homes. The fire burned down to Highway 97A Wednesday night, forcing the closure of a 30-mile stretch between Wenatchee and Chelan.

Mandatory evacuation notices were issued for several homes there Wednesday night. Several dozen other homeowners were on alert.

UPDATE: ENTIAT, Wash. (AP) - The Washington Department of Natural Resources says the fire in Entiat has now grown to about 7,000 acres.

UPDATE:
ENTIAT, Wash. (AP) - Residents of about two dozen homes who were told to evacuate because of the wildfire near Entiat have been told they can return, but they should remain ready to flee.

A spokesman for fire managers, Mick Mueller, in Wenatchee says the Level 3 "leave immediately" evacuation advisory was lowered Wednesday to Level 2 for residents in Mills Canyon.

A total of about 200 residents in the area four miles west of Entiat remain under a Level 2 "be ready" or Level 1 "be alert" evacuation advisories.

About 250 firefighters with helicopters and air tankers are trying to stop the fire that has burned about 8 square miles since spreading Tuesday from a house fire.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

CHELAN, Wash. (AP) - Firefighters with the Washington Department of Natural Resources are fighting a wildfire near the town of Entiat, WA.
The fire is being called the "Mills Canyon Fire" and has burned around 5,500 acres.

Washington DNR said it started as a house fire and is burning in steep terrain, fueled by dry grass and brush. So far, the original house that the fire originated from is the only structure that has been destroyed.

KPQ reports residents of about 200 homes have been advised they may have to evacuate. A shelter has been opened at Entiat High School.

A level 3 evacuation is in effect for Mills Canyon and Dinkleman Canyon, meaning residents in those areas should leave immediately. 

A level 2 evacuation has been issued on Entiat River Road to Dinkleman Canyon, meaning residents should be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice. 

The fire is burning grass and brush on private, state and federal lands.

Only residents with a valid I.D. including their address will be allowed past milepost 1.5 on Entiat River Road.
A shelter has been set up for evacuees at the Entiat High School.
About 250 firefighters from Chelan County districts, the state Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service are at the scene. Air tankers and helicopters have been dispatched. A Washington Incident Management Team has taken command.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 
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