Saturday, July 13, 2024

Pioneer Fire expands to 3,474 acres


CHELAN — The Pioneer Fire, burning in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Area and private land since June 8, has now grown to 3,474 acres. In response to the fire's progression, Chelan County Emergency Management has extended and issued new evacuation orders along Lake Chelan.

A Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation order has been extended from just north of Moore Point down to Canoe Creek. Additionally, a Level 2 (Be Prepared) evacuation order is now in place from Canoe Creek to Lone Fir Creek, and a Level 1 (Be Aware) order has been issued from Lone Fir Creek to Safety Harbor.

Fire suppression efforts have been divided into two branches. Branch I is focusing on operations and planning up lake from Point No Point to Flick Creek, while Branch II is overseeing operations and planning down lake, consisting mainly of road work and scouting potential control lines off upper Grade Creek road.

In Branch I, structure protection work continues between Meadow Creek and Moore Point. The fire has also progressed south through Rex Creek into Rattlesnake Creek, with aerial resources supporting infrastructure protection in Prince Creek.

Down lake in Branch II, heavy equipment is being used to improve access routes for fire vehicles and equipment along the south flank. Motorists are advised to be alert to water tenders traveling back and forth from Antilon Lake.

A public meeting to update residents on the current situation will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at the North Cascades National Park Golden West Visitor Center in Stehekin.

Smoke impacts are expected to increase along the lake as the fire progresses. The public is encouraged to check current air quality conditions and learn about becoming Smoke Ready.

The cause of the Pioneer Fire remains under investigation, with human factors suspected. A total of 330 personnel and 8 aircraft are currently assigned to the incident. Public safety closure orders are in effect for portions of the Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, and authorities continue to stress the importance of adhering to these orders for public and firefighter safety.


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