Cougar Creek fire up to 71 percent containment

UPDATE, Sep. 6 , 4:00 p.m.: The Cougar Creek fire in Chelan County has improved to 71 percent containment and remains over 40,000 acres in size.

While the size has grown to 42,412 acres, the containment percentage has steadily increased over the week.

Crews say fire spread was minimal on Wednesday. Helicopters continue to drop water on the area to support containment efforts by firefighters. Firefighters patrolled hand line near Signal Peak on Wednesday, and the line is holding.

Mop up operations, infrared imaging to find hot spots, and patrolling are continuing along completed line on the western perimeter. The southern and eastern areas of the fire are secure, and firefighters are conducting mop up, backhaul, and repair work, such as road grading. 

There is currently 438 personnel on scene.

UPDATE, Sep. 1 , 1:00 p.m.: The Cougar Creek fire in Chelan County continues to sit over 40,000 acres in size and is now 50 percent contained as of Saturday.

Reports of size have steadily increased each day, with the fire now at 41,847 acres and at 50 percent containment for the second straight day.

Firefighters continue their efforts to contain the northern portion of the fire by building direct containment lines, widening trails, and dropping water from helicopters. Containment along the western perimeter from Maverick Peak to Sugarloaf Peak is increasing as mop up operations and patrol progress.

The southern and eastern areas of the fire are secure where suppression repair work will address erosion control and road repair.

Level 1 evacuations are in effect for the Chiwawa Loop Road area (including Shugart Flats and Chiwawa River Pines communities). The Entiat River Road from Mile Marker 16.5, north to its end is also under a Level 1 alert. 

UPDATE, Aug. 25, 12:40 p.m.: The Cougar Creek fire in Chelan County is over 40,000 acres in size and is 40 percent contained as of Saturday.

The fire is reported at 41,324 acres in the latest update, with 946 personnel on scene.

An official says Level 2 evacuations have been lifted in the Entiat area.

Friday, crews advanced burn operations along the western perimeter to protect private property in Plain and the Chiwawa Pines area. 

Crews will continue to mop up and monitor the fire-line. Assessment of structures in the communities of Chiwawa Pines, Shugart Flats and Plain will continue. Assessment of structures in the upper Entiat River Valley will be completed Saturday.

Higher relative humidity and lower temperatures moderated fire behavior on Cougar Creek. Crews say the growth has been modest and much of the increase in acreage is attributed to burning operations along the perimeter.

UPDATE, Aug. 22, 4:00 p.m.: The Cougar Creek fire in Chelan County is approaching 40,000 acres in size and is 40 percent contained as of Wednesday.

The fire now sits at 39,208 acres, with 868 personnel on scene.

Firefighters will begin low intensity burnout operations along the western edge of the fire if conditions allow Wednesday. 

Crews will continue to assess structures in the communities of Chiwawa Pines, Shugart Flats and Plain while also continuing to use dozers and other heavy equipment to prepare the secondary containment line above the communities. Structures in the upper Entiat River Valley will also continue to be assessed and additional contingency lines are being identified as a precaution.

As of Sunday, the Level 2 notification on the Entiat River Road at Mad River Road was lowered to Level 1. The area between Crum Canyon and Mad River Road is no longer be under any evacuation level. Level 2 evacuation status will be in place from Stormy Creek MP 16.6 to the end of the Entiat River Rd.

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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