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Carlton Complex Fire now 52% contained

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Fire approaches Brewster, WA (PHOTO: Lulu Arroyo Fire approaches Brewster, WA (PHOTO: Lulu Arroyo
Carlton Complex Fire threatens homes and businesses as 40-50 structures have burned to the ground forcing evacuations in Pateros. Carlton Complex Fire threatens homes and businesses as 40-50 structures have burned to the ground forcing evacuations in Pateros.
Carlton Complex Fire threatens homes and businesses as 40-50 structures have burned to the ground forcing evacuations in Pateros. Carlton Complex Fire threatens homes and businesses as 40-50 structures have burned to the ground forcing evacuations in Pateros.
This photo sent to us from David Gross This photo sent to us from David Gross
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UPDATE on July 24, 2014: Cooler temperatures are allowing firefighters on the Carlton Complex to directly attack the flames. Firefighters are attacking the actual perimeter of the fire Thursday, thanks to temperatures that are forecast to reach only the 70s and wet conditions left over from Wednesday's thunderstorms.

Fore spokesman Pete Buist says firefighters earlier this week could not get close to the perimeter because of high temperatures and strong winds.

However, the weather forecast calls for hot and dry conditions to return over the next few days.

Carlton Complex remains at 52% contained as of 11am on Thursday. The fire grew ever slightly since Wednesday and is now at 250,258 acres, up from 250,136.

UPDATE on July 23, 2014:

Officials say the massive wildfire that has destroyed about 150 homes in north-central Washington is now more than half contained.

Firefighters made good progress Wednesday as rain and hail fell. The moisture wasn't enough to extinguish the nearly 400-square-mile Carlton Complex of fires, but it gave crews a chance to dig lines along the south and east parts of the fire.

The complex was reported to be 52 percent contained as of Wednesday night, up from 16 percent earlier in the day.

Previous Coverage: 


UPDATE: The Carlton Complex is now the largest wild land fire ever to burn in the State of Washington. The perimeter of this fire is more than 100 miles long. The total acreage burned is 250,136 acres (391 square miles). A total of 2,542 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to the incident. That includes 59 crews, 212 engines, 13 dozers, and 5 helicopters. The fire is 16% contained.

NOTE: Potential afternoon thunderstorms are a concern because of the possibility of heavy rain and lightning strikes. Even a moderate 10-minute rain can cause flooding, debris flows, and landslides. Pay attention to local media for flash flood warnings.

Areas along Highway 20 will remain in Evacuation Level 2 throughout the day because of potential weather conditions. Information on evacuations is available from the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office, 509-422-2422, 2428 or 2420.

Highway 20 between Twisp and Okanogan is open, this could change as fire conditions change. For updated road conditions, contact the Washington Department of Transportation (www.wsdot.com or call 511).

Firefighter and public safety remain the priority and crews will continue to remain heads up with changing weather conditions. Watch for fire vehicles in your travels.

Wednesday's Activities: The priority today for crews is working to tie in lines in the canyons across the north end of the zone. In the Malott and Chiliwist Road area, engine crews are working to ensure protection for 300 feet around remaining structures. The area around Malott from the junction of Highways 97 and 17 is mostly cold. Crews continue monitoring the area. Aircraft are available for support as weather allows.

Tuesday's Accomplishments: Hand and dozer crews made major progress south of Highway 20. About 7 miles of line was completed in difficult terrain. Crews are within a third of a mile of having lines tied together in this critical part of the fire.

The Carlton Complex has been divided into three management zones. One Incident Management Team is based in Winthrop, one in Omak, and one in Chelan, respectively. The three areas are called the Carlton Zone, the Carlton East Zone, and the Carlton South Zone.

A Fire Information Call Center for all three zones of the Carlton Complex is open in Wenatchee from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM; the Center numbers are (509) 664-9353 or 664-9277. The Center was opened to provide additional information because the Fire Information Office telephones in Winthrop are working intermittently. Fire information for all three zones of the Carlton Complex will be posted on the websites listed above.

Highway Closures:

Road closures may be in effect and closures can change quickly due to the dynamic fire situation.
  • The Loup Loup Road (Highway 20 from milepost 210-223) is closed.
  • Contact the “511” automated Washington Department of Transportation Travel Information line for updated information, or call (509) 667-2802.
With the dynamic fire situation, information on specific evacuation areas can change quickly. Up to date information should be obtained from the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office or Emergency Services at (509) 422-2422, (509) 422-2428, (509) 422-2448, or (509) 422-2420. Information is also available on the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Facebook.

Several evacuations have occurred and continue. There is a Red Cross Shelter at the Fellowship Church in Omak. Displaced public can make contact with the Omak Red Cross Shelter at (509) 663-3907. Additional shelters are open at The Barn in Winthrop, the Chelan High School, and at the Brewster High School.

Forest Service Area Closures: All USFS land south of the Twisp River Rd. and the #37 Rd are closed. This includes the entire Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness on both the Methow and Chelan sides of the ridge, with the exception of the Lakeside Trail near Chelan. Also included is the South Summit area of the Methow Ranger District.

Here is the latest release from CarltonComplex.blogspot.com:

This update covers the EAST ZONE of the Carlton Complex. Firefighters are working 24 hours a day to continue to build and maintain line. Yesterday was a good day with all the constructed containment line being held and no additional structures lost. As firefighters continue to work in the Loup Loup drainage Highway 20 remains closed.

Fire crews face difficult challenges working in several steep canyon areas that are heavily forested and covering a long distance fire perimeter. The National Guard Blackhawk helicopters will continue dropping water to assist with establishing and maintaining containment lines.

Firefighter and public safety remain the priority and crews will continue to remain heads up with changing weather conditions. The humidity will be higher today, but winds may be a bit stronger with gusts up to 25 mph.

About the entire Carlton Complex:

Carlton Complex is now the largest fire in Washington State history. There are two Type 2 Incident Management Teams (IMT), one type 1 IMT, and a National Incident Management Organization assigned to this fire. The entire fire has affected 250,136 acres and IMTs have divided it into three zones of manageable size. Incident Management Posts (fire camps) are located in Omak, Winthrop, and Chelan.

Currently there are 2,110 firefighters assigned to the Carlton Complex including 53 fire crews, 134 engines, 12 dozers, and 18 helicopters.

Highway 20 between Twisp and Okanogan is closed to public traffic. For road closure information, contact the Washington Department of Transportation (www.wsdot.com or call 511). For current information on evacuations please contact the Okanogan County Emergency Management Center (509-422-2422; 509-422-2428; 509-422-2408; 509-422-2420 or Okanogan County Sheriff’s Facebook page).



UPDATE:
A Fire Information Call Center for the entire Carlton Complex opened in Wenatchee Monday. The Call Center will be open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM; the numbers are (509) 664-9353 or 664-9277. The Center was opened because the Information Office telephones are only working intermittently.On Sunday firefighters continued strengthening and building more fire containment line in the northern zone of the Carlton Complex, establishing an anchor in the northwest corner of the fire. In addition, good progress was made building line on the east side of Highway 153, between the Carlton area and Twisp. Firefighters are holding the fire to the south side of Libby Creek. Additional crews and equipment will be moved to this section of the fire on Monday to further secure this priority area. If weather conditions are favorable, fire crews plan to conduct a burn out operation to construct six miles of fireline to extend the containment lines around the north end of the fire. During the burn out operation, residents may see large amounts of smoke at the north end of the fire. Firefighters are working both day and night shifts to provide structure protection and patrol areas. An Initial Attack Group was established to help respond to any new wildfire starts in the vicinity.

A community meeting was held in Brewster Sunday evening, with fire managers and other emergency officials presenting a status update and answering questions from the residents. Approximately 120 people attended.

Damage to area utilities continues to hamper communications, and there is no estimate of when repairs will be completed. The Incident Command Post’s immediate needs are being met with portable electric generators.

The Carlton Complex was split into three management zones on Sunday, with two new Incident Management Teams now in place to assist with containing this large fire. One team is based in Omak and one in Chelan.

Today, the weather will be sunny and smoky in the valleys. The weather outlook for later this week is a chance of rain showers and thunderstorms over the fire area.

Fire information for all three zones will be posted on the websites listed above.

Late Sunday evening the fire was 243,291 acres in size. 1622 firefighters are assigned to the complex.

Highway Closures:

Road closures may be in effect and closures can change quickly due to the fire situation.

• Highway 20 reopened over Loup Loup Pass Sunday evening.

• Contact the “511” automated Washington Department of Transportation Travel Information line for updated information, or call (509) 667-2802.

Forest Service Area Closures: All USFS land south of the Twisp River Rd. and the #37 Rd are closed. This includes the entire Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness on both the Methow and Chelan sides of the ridge, with the exception of the Lakeside Trail near Chelan. Also included is the South Summit area of the Methow Ranger District.

UPDATE: As of Sunday morning the fire is at 238,000 acres. It grew 23,000 acres and fire chiefs said this morning they are relatively pleased with how little the fire has grown since yesterday in relation to how large it actually is. They say the focus today is keeping fire away from structures in all the small towns.

UPDATE: WINTHROP, Wash. (AP) - Howling winds are pushing the massive Carlton Complex fire in new directions. The fire has now burned 215,000 and forced the town of Malott to evacuate Friday evening.
But officials say there are still no reports of injuries and only one more home was destroyed overnight.

As of Saturday morning, it had scorched 336 square miles in the scenic Methow Valley. The fire was measured at 260 square miles on Friday. Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers says the wildfire has calmed down near Pateros, where it destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday. He says it is running out of places to burn in that area.

The fire has picked up on its north side closer to Winthrop. But he says the winds have been erratic and are blowing the very active fire in different directions.

Rogers says the active fire is burning in an area that is more sparsely populated, but homes are scattered throughout the woods.

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

UPDATED INFORMATION ON CLOSURES AND EVACUATIONS (10:10 P.M. July 18th, 2014):  The latest information we have received for the area of Brewster is that the hospital hill area is at level one. Pioneer Rd, Red Apple Rd and North Star Rd in the Brewster area are now on level 2 evacuations. The rest of Brewster city is at level 0.

Omak is at evacuation level 0 evacuation and the Red Cross will remain at the Cornerstone Church on Riverside Drive.

According to the state patrol, highway 97 is now fully open in Okanogan County.

Pleasant Valley area is now on level 2 evacuation.

The entire city of Twisp is on level 2 evacuation.

Vintin Rd. to Texas Creek Rd. in now on level 2 evacuation.

Evacuations are level 3 at King Rock Road and Paradise Hill Road

Okanogan City is on level 1 evacuation.

All of this information is from the Okanogan Country Sheriff facebook page.

Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office Evacuation Levels:

LEVEL 1: Persons are warned that current or projected threats from hazards associated with the approaching fires are severe. This is the time to prepare.

LEVEL 2: Conditions indicate a good probability that hazards associated with the approaching fires will severely limit our ability to provide emergency service protection. You must prepare to leave at a moment’s notice. This may be the only notice that you receive.

LEVEL 3: Current conditions present specific and immediate threats to the life and safety of persons within this area. You are advised to evacuate immediately.


CORRECTION: Now under level 3 evacuation is the town of Malott and the city of Omak is NOT under any level of evacuations.

Fires have now caused the 911 services in Pateros, Winthrop and Twisp. Use the 10 digit # to contact local authorities.The fire is 0% contained and is still around 170,000 acres.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

The fire is still at 169,000 acres. At least 35 houses have been lost and there are 635 total personnel on the scene.

The Carlton Complex wildfire south of Twisp exploded Friday morning to cover 169,000 acres and fire managers say it is nowhere near any measure of containment.

The fire has pushed hundreds of people out of their homes in businesses in the surrounding area. No one has been hurt in the fire.

Firefighters said the fire picked up steam Thursday night around 9:30, as strong winds accelerated the fire's growth. Gusts as high as 45 miles an hour were recorded.

UPDATE: BREWSTER, Wash. - There are LEVEL 3 evacuations being ordered in the town of Pateros which has a population of 650 people, as the Carlton Complex Fire burns out of control. 40-50 homes and businesses have burned to the ground.
The Brewster Three Rivers Hospital has been evacuated as well. Staff and patients were transferred to Mid Valley Hospital in Omak. The retirement center in Brewster was evacuated to Bridgeport.

Housing is available for those who have been evacuated in Chelan at the High School.

Residents from Harmony House are being moved to Bridgeport, believe they said the school gymnasium. They are asking family of those housed at Harmony House to not come to that location, they have enough staff to move the residents.

The fire at this point is estimated to be about 18000 acres and quickly growing. At least 35 homes have burned. At this point there have been no injuries reported.

Current Red Cross shelters include:

Chelan High School – 215 W. Webster, Chelan

Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Church - 328 N. Riverside, Omak
Winthrop Barn Auditorium -- 51 Washington 20, Winthrop, WA 98862

First Baptist Church – 429 Evans St., Leavenworth

We will continue to update this story as soon as we get new information.

The Carlton Complex fires started on July 14, by lightning from a weather system that moved through the Methow Valley. The Carlton Complex consists of four fires: Stokes Fire, Gold Hikes Fire, French Creek Fire and the Cougar Flat. The Stokes and Gold Hikes fires are now one larger fire. The fires are burning in timber and grass. The local Type 3 firefighting team has been diligently working to stop the fire spread, but despite the efforts of local, the fire has grown significantly. A request for State Mobilization was declared for additional personnel, equipment, and other logistical resources from the state at 6:30 pm on July 15. The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed 2 structures lost.

Washington Interagency Incident Management Team 2 assumed command of the fire at noon on July 16. The team is working with existing local resources in developing fire control strategies and tactics. Other cooperators include the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Washington State Department of Natural Resources, (WA DNR), Bureau of Land Management, WA Department of Fish & Wildlife, Okanogan Fire District 6 Okanogan Fire District 15. The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office is providing assistance with evacuations and road closures.

The extreme fire behavior and hot weather conditions will continue to challenge firefighting efforts. Structure Protection crews are working throughout the four fire areas patrolling and monitoring around structures. Firefighters are working with property owners to help reduce vegetation and remove debris. As of yesterday morning, the number of acres burned was at 7,300. With the increase in fire activity over the last 24-hours, acreage numbers will change significantly on our next fire update.

The present fire situation continues to rapidly change due to the high fire danger. Public and firefighter safety is the priority on the Carlton Complex fires. Highway 153 is now closed at MP6-21, two miles south of Carlton. A Level 3 Evacuation Notice is in place between Carlton to Pateros. You can contact the “511” automated Washington Department of Transportation Travel Information line for updated information.

Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office Evacuation Levels:

LEVEL 1: Persons are warned that current or projected threats from hazards associated with the approaching fires are severe. This is the time to prepare.

LEVEL 2: Conditions indicate a good probability that hazards associated with the approaching fires will severely limit our ability to provide emergency service protection. You must prepare to leave at a moment’s notice. This may be the only notice that you receive.

LEVEL 3: Current conditions present specific and immediate threats to the life and safety of persons within this area. You are advised to evacuate immediately.

Evacuation/Closures: Multiple road closures are in effect. Due to the fire situation, road and highway closures could change very quickly. Hwy 20 is now closed between MP206 to MP215. Hwy 153 is closed at MP6-21 and at a Level 3 Notice between the town of Carlton and Pateros.

Forest Service Trail Closures: Due to the changing fire situation, the following trails have been closed by the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest – Middle Fork Ridge #418, Foggy Dew #417, Martin Creek #429, Eagle Lake #431, Crater Creek #416.?
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