Cougar Creek fire at over 35,000 acres, still 35 percent contain - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cougar Creek fire at over 35,000 acres, still 35 percent contained

Posted: Updated:
CHELAN COUNTY, Wash. -

UPDATE, Aug. 18, 3:30 p.m.: The Cougar Creek fire remains at 35 percent contained, but has increased in size approaching 36,000 acres as of Saturday.

The fire burning in Chelan County is now at 35,809 acres with 1,106 personnel on scene.

Wind conditions helped push smoke out of the valleys, but increased fire behavior across the area Friday.

Saturday, crews are working on the fire's southern edge from the Sugar Loaf Lookout area to Gold Ridge, continuing to prepare the area for low intensity burnout operations that will continue when conditions allow. Crews will continue to mop-up, hold and patrol contained fire edge in the Entiat Valley as well as use aviation to prevent fire growth around Grandma Creek.

UPDATE, Aug. 15, 4:00 p.m.: For the second time in as many days, the Cougar Creek fire in Chelan County has seen both an increase in acreage size along with an increase in containment percentage now at 35.

The fire now sits at 31,961 acres and is 35 percent contained. Over 1,000 personnel remain on scene.

Crews have made great progress creating depth with burn out operations along holding lines on the southern portion of the fire line. Containment lines around structures in the Entiat River Valley were established and strengthened. 

Evacuation notices were each reduced by one this morning:
Level 1 to nothing: Oklahoma Gulch Rd, Navarre Coulee Rd (97-ALT to South Lakeshore Rd), Johnson Creek Rd and First Creek Rd residents. Entiat River Rd from 97A to Crum Canyon.

Level 2 to Level 1: Entiat River Rd from Mad River Rd down to Crum Canyon Rd and both sides of Crum Canyon Rd.

Level 3 to Level 2: Mad River Rd & Ardenvoir. Also Entiat River Rd from Mad River Rd to end of Entiat River Rd (approximately MP 25).

UPDATE, Aug. 15, 2:30 p.m.: The Cougar Creek fire in Chelan County has increased in size to 31,062 acres, but also has increased in containment percentage at 28 as of Wednesday.

Firing operations in the Entiat River Valley were expanded Tuesday around the homes and commercial buildings. On the fire’s southern edge,containment lines were expanded all the way from Sugarloaf Lookout to the Gold Ridge, north of Ardenvoir. Tuesday night, crews patrolled and reinforced the line along the fires edge.

All efforts Wednesday focus on extending and reinforcing containment lines prior to Wednesday’s predicted winds. Depending on the weather, helicopters could be used to drop fire into areas of unburned vegetation to increase the containment lines. 

UPDATE, Aug. 13, 5:00 p.m.: The Cougar Creek fire in Chelan County remains at five percent containment, but has grown to 29,186 acres as of Monday.

Over 1,000 personnel are on scene of the fire. Sunday's operations stopped progression of the spot fires in the Entiat River Valley while protecting the town of Ardenvoir.

Favorable weather conditions Sunday night allowed direct attack on the fire. Crews continued protecting structures and strengthening lines south of Stormy Creek and north of Mud Creek.

Firefighting priorities Monday remain in the Entiat River valley, while crews will be active on the east side, south of Tyee Creek, Stormy Creek and Potato Creek. Dozers will also work to reinforce lines.

The following evacuations remain in effect for the Cougar Creek fire:

• Level 3: Means leave now – Entiat River Road north from Mad River Road to the end of Entiat River Road,

Ardenvoir, and Mad River Road

• Level 2: Means prepare to evacuate – Entiat River Road from Crum Canyon north to Ardenvoir and all of Crum

Canyon Road

• Level 1: Means be aware of a potential evacuation – Entiat River Road from 97A to Crum Canyon Road,

Oklahoma Gulch Road, Navarre Coulee Road, from Hwy 97-ALT to South Lakeshore Road, Johnson Creek

Road, and First Creek Road

UPDATE, Aug. 11, 5:30 p.m.: After an increase in size of nearly 6,000 acres, the Cougar Creek fire in Chelan County is currently the largest in Washington state at 18,376 acres.

The fire continues to be reported at five percent containment, and 933 personnel are on scene. The acreage has increased by 5,948.

Winds out of the northwest Friday evening pushed fire toward the southeast, down Miner's Ridge, Hornet Creek and into the Mad River drainage. Eastern lines on the Cougar Fire were tested, and in some areas, spot fires occurred, which are being managed today.

Additional resources were acquired through State Mobilization for the Cougar Creek fire and activated Friday evening to assist the structure protection group in the Entiat River Valley. Structures were threatened during this wind event, but none were damaged or destroyed. 

Crews were looking to secure the southeast portion of the fire in an effort to protect the Entiat River Valley Saturday. Firefighters will continue to extinguish spot fires caused by embers blowing across control lines from the fire's push last evening.

The following evacuations are in place:

Level 3: Ardenvoir including Mad River Road plus Entiat River Road from Mad River Road to the end of Entiat River Road

Level 2: Entiat River Road from Crum Canyon north to Ardenvoir, as well as all of Crum Canyon Road

Level 1: Entiat River Road from US 97A to Crum Canyon Road.

UPDATE, Aug. 10, 4:00 p.m.: The Cougar Creek fire in Chelan County has grown to 12,542 acres, but is also reported five percent contained.

Very high temperatures and low humidity Thursday led to moderate fire activity on all but the north side of the fire. Firefighters conducted more burnout operations to create a buffer along the eastern side of the fire along Tyee Ridge in preparation for expected winds.

Most efforts Friday will focus on strengthening recently constructed firelines ahead of the wind event. Aircraft support will be available.

A total of 902 personnel, including 22 crews, 6 aircraft, 28 engines, and 12 bulldozers are being shared between the Cougar Creek and Lost Fires.

UPDATE, Aug. 9, 5:00 p.m.: The Cougar Creek fire in Chelan County has grown to 10,834 acres.

High temperatures and low humidity Wednesday led to increased fire activity on the southwest side. The fire crossed the Mad River north of Burgess cabin between Alma and Wilma Creeks.

Air tankers dropped retardant along six miles of ridgetops to slow the fire's southwest spread. 

Firefighters are conducting more burnout operations Thursday.

A Level 1 Evacuation Notice was given for the Mad River Road and Ardenvoir Thursday.

There is 895 personnel on scene. No reports of containment have been made.

Previous Coverage: A wildfire burning in Chelan County has reached close to 4,000 acres, but evacuation notices were decreased Sunday afternoon.

The Chelan County Sheriff's Office reported that all Level 3 evacuations in Entiat Valley were reduced to Level 2 at noon on Sunday for the Cougar Creek fire. Level 2 evacuations are in effect from Mad River Rd. north to mile post 24.5.

Officials say the immediate threat to residents in the area has decreased, but there is enough of a fire presence in the area to maintain level 2 notice.

The Cougar Creek fire is at 3,837 acres with 664 personnel on scene. The fire began July 28th 12 miles northwest of Ardenvoir, 7 1/2 miles northeast of Plain and 20 miles northwest of Entiat. No containment has been reported.

Crews are working to suppress spot fires, improve old firelines and identify opportunities to increase defensible space around structures threatened.

The fire is burning in heavy timber, dead and down timber, and in old fire burns. Much of the fire is in steep and inaccessible terrain but firefighters are making progress in putting out spot fires, building hand and dozer line, reducing fuel loads north of Plain, and providing structural protection along Entiat River road. 

The California Interagency Incident Management Team 5 assumed command of the Cougar Creek Fire on Sunday.

Several road, trail and campground closures are in effect.

The cause of the fire appears to be natural, possibly from lightning. The estimated containment date is September 15th.

There will be a public meeting Sunday at 6:00 p.m. at Entiat’s main fire station Sunday.

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