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Wildfire threatens Stehekin Valley buildings

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on July 31, 2010 at 12:04 am |
July 31, 2010 12:04 am

Portions of the Rainbow Bridge Fire, located within the Stehekin Valley of Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, are approaching buildings on the valley floor.

The fire was frist reported Thursday just before 5 p.m. The fire is burning in extremely steep terrain in the Rainbow Creek and Boulder Creek drainages about three miles up-valley from Stehekin Landing.

Earlier this evening, the fire was estimated at 1,200 acres in size and is burning in a heavily forested area. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Two fingers of the fire are approaching the valley floor near the Stehekin School and the historic Old Schoolhouse where firefighters are actively engaged. The threatened structures are being watered and monitored for protection. Firefighters are also working to reestablish a fire line remaining from the 2006 Flick Creek Fire on the southwest flank of the fire.

Here is the rest of the news release:

Local Stehekin firefighters from the National Park Service and Chelan County’s (Stehekin) Fire District 10, plus other residents have been preparing hose and sprinklers at numerous homes and structures on the valley floor as a precaution.

Local firefighters initially responded to the fire with eight smokejumpers from the North Cascades Smokejumper Base joining them last night. Ten more smokejumpers and the North Cascades National Park fire crew arrived this morning. Two 20-person fire crews arrived in Stehekin via ferry this afternoon. A Type II Incident Management Team will be transitioning to the fire this afternoon.

One helicopter and one air tanker provided water and retardant support Thursday evening until nightfall. Air tankers have not been able to fly into Stehekin so far today because of low visibility due to heavy smoke that has settled into the valley. A Type 1 helicopter has begun to provide water support late this afternoon. Tomorrow five 300-gallon water trucks will be arriving in Stehekin from Chelan County to provide additional protection along the Stehekin Valley Road.

Ferry service is running to and from Stehekin. Businesses are open and other visitor facilities have not been affected in the park. Bicycle traffic will be restricted beyond the Stehekin Pastry Company.

TRAIL CLOSURES:

The following trails are closed due to active fire activity until further notice.

Rainbow Loop Trail is closed for the entire length.

Rainbow Creek Trail is closed from the junction with the Rainbow Loop Trail to McAlester Pass.

Rainbow Lake Trail is closed from the junction with the Rainbow Creek Trail to Rainbow Meadows.

Boulder Creek Trail is closed from the junction with the Rainbow Loop Trail to War Creek Pass.

Click here to see photos of the Rainbow Bridge Fire.

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