Fireline made by crews in Black Canyon [Photo Courtesy: inciweb]
FOUR FIRES INTO ONE HUGE FIRE
Pateros, Washington – On July 17, 2014, four fires [the Stokes Fire, the Gold Hikes Fire, the French Creek Fire and the Cougar Flat Fire] within the Carlton Complex incident merged into one large devastating fire. Within 48 hours, the fire plowed right through the City of Pateros devastating the small town and taking 312 residences within Okanogan County.
Plume from Cougar Flat fire over Liberty Bell ICP [Photo Courtesy: inciweb]
Currently, the fire is located five (5) miles SW of Okanogan; seven (7) miles of Twisp; and nine (9) miles of Omak, Washington State. The Carlton Complex Information blog is also reporting the fire is South of Withrop, Washington.
SETTING UNPRECEDENTED RECORDS
This is the largest wildfire ever recorded in the State of Washington’s wildland fire history. Lightning was the cause of the original fires.
Today, the fire is at a 67% containment status with 251,025 acres burned. Some Western Washington locals reporting smoke rising from the Cascades as far away as Bellevue – located ten 10 miles East of Seattle. Containment is based upon three zones: Carlton Zone, South Zone and East Zone.
A DC-10 dropping retardant down below [Photo Courtesy: inciweb]
OPERATION: HUMBLE TROOPER IMPLETEMENTED
A volunteer group composed of military veterans and First Responders started to deploy to the City of Pateros. Their sole mission is to “Bridge The Gap” in offering their expertise and skilled learned in the military partnering with other First Responders and offering help in disaster response and recovery situations. They are known as “Team Rubicon”.
Team Rubicon was formed in 2010, after a devastating earthquake in Haiti. Two former U.S. Marines gathered up six other military veterans and First Responders deploying as a volunteer group to the catastrophic incident. Team Rubicon flourishes as an approved 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with proudly serving on 65 missions in both the United States and worldwide. They operated on donations and corporation sponsorships.
The City of Pateros requested Team Rubicon to respond to the Carlton Complex Wildfire to help provide assistance with debris removal, volunteer management, damage assessments and administrative tasks as needed.
It’s volunteers are highly skilled and can step into the role of an Incident Management Team instantaneously or as a Disaster Medical Team. None of their volunteers are paid for their services they deem “labor of love”. Their current project with the City is being called “Operation: Humble Trooper”.
Firefighters working hard to dig a line on the East Zone [Photo Courtesy: inciweb]
The organization grew from 330 volunteers in 2010 to over 16,000! Membership continues to grow every year. If would like to find out more about volunteer opportunities, check out their website at teamrubiconusa.org or contact their Public Affairs Officer Sam Kille @ Kille@teamrubicon.org or by phone at 516-782-7062.
RESOURCES ON THE FIRE GROUND; HOW INCIDENT COOPERATORS ARE WORKING TOGETHER
- Chelan Fire Districts #1, #3, #4, #6, #8
- Chelan County FD
- USFS Firefighters
- US Fish & Wildlife Firefighters
Over 3,100 Firefighters and personnel are on the fire ground.
Providing road security and brought in a kitchen to supplement the DNR kitchen.
- Rocky Mtn [Blume] Type 1 Team
Assisting with water drops.
Since the beginning of the Wildland fire response, the Red Cross has provided nearly 340 overnight shelter stays; 32,000 meals and snacks and more than 1,000 health and mental services in affected communities.
More than 225 Red Cross Disaster Volunteers have responded from across the Country throughout Washington State to help with the disaster.
- Bureau of Land Management [BLM]
The Fire and Aviation Directorate (FAD) is a diverse, professional organization dedicated to providing national direction, leadership, policy, standards, and operational oversight. FAD works with state and field offices to ensure a safe, cost-effective and efficient fire and aviation management program in support of the national Bureau of Land Management (BLM) mission.
The FAD is headquartered at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho, where it works with seven other federal agencies to manage wildland fire in the United States. BLM’s fire and aviation program has three organizational levels: 1) the national office provides leadership and oversight, and develops policy, procedures and budgets for the fire and aviation program; 2) state offices are responsible for coordinating policies and interagency activities within their state; and 3) field offices are responsible for on-the-ground fire management and aviation activities, often partnering with other agencies to maximize rapid initial attack.
The BLM, a leader in our nation’s wildland fire management efforts, undertakes a broad range of activities to safely protect the public, the natural landscape, wildlife habitat and recreational areas for our country’s citizens. The program includes fire suppression, preparedness, predictive services, fuels management, fire planning, community assistance and protection, prevention and education, and perhaps most significant, safety. The BLM meets these challenges by fielding highly trained and skilled professional firefighters and managers. Reducing the risk and consequence of wildland fires continues to grow in importance; however, suppression operations and safety continue to be the core of the overall fire program.
- Chelan County Emergency Operations Center
Is reporting that they are currently not activated at this time [per their website]. www.chelandem.org/eoc.htm
- Chelan County Sheriff’s Office
- US Hwy 2 at Coles Corner. Detour using Chumstick Hwy and SR 207.
- Antoine Creek and Washington Creek, Level 1.
- Union Valley, Level 1.
Current weather 104 degrees, RH 12%, and winds S 5-10 mph, Gust 15 mph.
Tomorrow expect a high of 102, RH 14%, winds S 5-10mph, Gust 15 mph.
The extended forecast for this week is for increasing temps and decreasing humidities with possible thunderstorms and a Haines of around 5.
A Fire Weather Watch is in effect from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday evening for thunderstorms producing abundant amount of lightning. This is for the SE Washington areas down to Oregon down to California.
DRINKING WATER ALERTS
Air Attack Water Drop [Photo Courtesy: inciweb]
The Washington State Department of Health’s page located at http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/DrinkingWater/Alerts/RecentAlerts contains a list of known drinking water alerts issued within the last two weeks.
- If you lost water pressure and your water system is not on this list, do not assume the water is safe to drink. Public health officials are trying to contact other systems that may be affected.
Photo courtesy of Carlton Complex Info Blog
[This photo [above] despicts a heavy helicopter picking up a load of water from the Methow River. This helicopter can carry up to 2,600 gallons of water. This water will be flown to to the area of the fire where it was requested. The drop of this water will be coordinated with crews on the ground to ensure the water is dropped in the spot it needs to be.]
Many water systems lost pressure because of widespread electrical outages in the Methow Valley and other areas. Potentially harmful contaminants can be drawn into water lines when pressure is lost.
If you are returning from an evacuation and have lost water pressure, boil your tap water when service is restored or contact your water system to find out whether it is necessary to boil the water.
- To kill germs, heat the water to a brisk boil for one minute and allow it to cool before using. Continue to boil your water until notified by your water system that it is safe to drink. If you are unable to boil your tap water, you can purify water by adding bleach.
REMINDERS TO DRIVERS
Firefighters are asking the public when entering the area, to not stop in the roadway when fire aircraft is working due to this being a safety hazard. Pull to the shoulder safely and stop, do not impede traffic.
THE OMAK STAMPEDE EVENT LIVES ON
East Zone fire activity on July 21 [Photo Courtesy: inciweb]
The Stampede is on, fire camp on the move: To make way for the annual Omak Stampede, the East Zone fire camp is in the process of moving to the Okanogan County Fairgrounds. All Stampede events will take place, as usual, starting August 7th. Most fire personnel will be at the fairgrounds from Thursday night, on. A few support staff will remain at the Stampede Grounds through Friday morning. Fire personnel appreciate all the support and hospitality received from the Omak Stampede.
Info Complied by LR Swenson from various sources. Photo Credit given to sources where photos were downloaded from. The NWFB does not own any of these photos and are the sole proprietary of the Photographer or Agency.
2014 The NW Fire Blog