Fully extinguishing Leavenworth fire will be 'ongoing challenge' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fully extinguishing Leavenworth fire will be 'ongoing challenge'

Posted: Updated:
LEAVENWORTH, Wash. -

Update: 5 p.m. Wednesday:  Fire crews report active fire fighting operations continue on the Spromberg fire located approximately four miles north of Leavenworth, Washington, along the Chumstick Highway. The fire started Tuesday afternoon in a 5-acre storage area for logs and other flammable materials. The cause remains under active investigation, but has not yet been determined.

Firefighters say strong winds and a large amount of fuel for the fire, it quickly spread and intensified on Tuesday, becoming a significant challenge to suppression efforts. Initial firefighting was done by Chelan County Fire District 3 and Washington Department of Natural Resources. A large number of local, state and federal resources from within Chelan and Douglas County provided a unified response to the fire, as well as two spot fires that ignited east of the log pile on the other side of Chumstick Highway.

Chelan County Fire District 3 Chief Kelly O'Brien expressed his admiration and support for his staff and the nearly 200 responders, air resources, and a water tanker train from BNSF rail who came to support the Leavenworth community on Tuesday. "We dodged a bullet," noted Chief Kelly, "this could have been a catastrophic event without the coordinated effort."

Tuesday night, more resources were brought in from across the state to relieve fire crews and help organize an extended response to the blaze.

More strong winds on Wednesday, but as of 3 p.m. firefighters report no new ignitions and the fire in the log pile has burned down considerably. But Chief O'Brien says, "Fully extinguishing this fire will be an ongoing challenge and concern for some time to come."

Fire crews say the fire is holding at 40 acres in size and say that it is 50 percent contained Wednesday, but those numbers are expected to shift after a more detailed assessment is made. Crews hope that with less wind in the forecast for Thursday, containment could go up.

No injuries have been reported, no homes have been damaged, and no aircraft has been called to help fight the fire Wednesday.

The Chelan County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management has notified the public that Spromberg Canyon is the remaining Level 3 evacuation area, and that the area between Eagle Creek Road and Sunitsch Canyon Road is at level 2. Eagle Creek Road is at Level 1. Traffic on Chumstick Highway through the fire zone is limited to residents and legitimate business traffic.

Update 8:25 p.m. Tuesday:  State fire assistance has been mobilized under the Washington State Fire Services Resource Mobilization Plan in support of local firefighters working to contain the Spromberg Fire located Chelan County, 3 miles north of Leavenworth near the intersection of Chumstick Hwy and Spromberg Canyon Road. The fire is burning in downed timber, brush and standing timber.  Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste authorized the mobilization of state firefighting resources on May 23, 2017, at 4:45 pm at the request of Chief Kelly O’Brien, Chelan County Fire District 3.

The fire started on May 23, 2017 at approximately 1:00 pm, and the cause is currently under investigation.  The Spromberg Fire is estimated at 40 acres and growing.  The fire is threatening homes, timber, and electrical infrastructure. Level 1 and 3 evacuation notifications are in place.

Mobilization specialists from the Fire Protection Bureau have ordered five wildland strike teams, two twenty person handcrews, and a Type 3 Incident Management Team.

The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Camp Murray has been activated to Level 2 to coordinate state assistance for the Spromberg Fire.  State Fire Marshal personnel are in route to the scene to coordinate dispatch of resources.

Under the State Fire Services Resource Mobilization Plan, the Fire Protection Bureau coordinates the initial dispatch and continued administrative oversight of resources and personnel for the duration of the incident.  The Mobilization Plan is implemented to provide a process to quickly notify, assemble and deploy fire service personnel, equipment and other resources from around the state when fires, disasters or other events exceed the capacity of local jurisdictions.  More information about the Washington State Fire Services Resource Mobilization Plan is available at:  www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/mobilization.htm

Update: 6:15 p.m.: Washington Emergency Management says fire mobilization for a wildfire near Leavenworth has been approved. About 168 homes and cabins in the area of the fire are under level three evacuation. 

Update 4:40 p.m.: Chelan fire crews say the Spromberg Canyon fire has grown to approximately 40 acres as of Tuesday afternoon. Level 3 evacuations remain in place from Sunitsch Canyon to Eagle Creek and all Spromberg Canyon. Spotting remains a concern. Crews say fire has spotted across Chumstick Highway, adjacent from Spromberg Canyon.

Update 4:15 p.m.: Chelan County fire crews say the cause of a brush fire near Leavenworth remains under investigation. As of Tuesday afternoon the fire is holding at 5 acres in size and fire spotting remains a primary concern for firefighters.

Approximately 200 firefighters are responding to the fire and they have one helicopter fighting the blaze from the air.

Evacuations due to the fire are as follows:

Previous coverage:

A 5-acre brush fire burning north of Leavenworth has triggered evacuation notices in Chelan County Tuesday afternoon.

Chelan County Emergency Management  and Chumstick Wildfire Coalition reports reports there are level three evacuation notices in place for Spromberg Canyon and level one evacuation notices in place from Sunitsch Canyon to Leavenworth.

As a reminder, level 1 evacuations mean residents in the area should be aware of a fire burning in the are. Level 2 evacuations mean residents should be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Level 3 evacuation notices mean residents in the area should leave immediately.

The fire size has been confirmed at 5 acres and is primarily confined to the Brender log yard on the Leavenworth side of Spromberg Canyon Road.

 Additional details were not immediately available. We will update this story as we learn more.

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