#ThrowBackThursday | Sutherland Canyon Fire

THROWBACK THURSDAY | This new post title is all about stepping back in time and viewing some of the 2017 Fire Season’s wildfires that scorched many of our NW landscapes and making its own path of destruction.  Today’s fire is the Sutherand Canyon Fires that burned in and near Wenatchee, Washington State in June of this year.

170628 Sutherland Canyon Fire

Sutherland Canyon Fire is showing its fierce side. Photo taken on June 28, 2017. (Credit: Richard Parrish/BLM)


The Sutherland Canyon Fire ignited on June 26, 2017, around midnight on a Monday from lightning that touched the area causing multiple grass fires.  The fires were located about 9-20 miles south Wenatchee in the counties of Chelan, Grant and Douglas.

The fires were burning on land owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WA DNR) and private lands.  The fire was also said to have destroyed critical sage and grouse habitat.



June 26, 2017.   Alcoa Hwy near Junction Ridge started on June 26, 2017.  100 firefighters assigned. Grass, brushy fuels.  500 acres. 0% contained. Level 2  evacuations in process. Limited updates.


170701 Sutherland Canyon Fire

June 27, 2017.  The Sutherland Canyon Fires was located 8 miles SE of Wenatchee and had 75 personnel assigned.  3,000 acres burned. This was made up of five smaller fires collectively under this single wildfire name. Level 2 evacuation levels were in effect.

June 28, 2017.  No update.

170701 Sutherland Canyon Fire

Fire is seen racing up the hillside of the Sutherland Canyon Fire on June 28, 2017. 

June 29, 2017.  The fire had expanded and was considered to be very complex.  The Northwest Team 11, a Type 2 IMT Team would become the new face of Command under IC, Nathan Rabe.  His team took command at 0600 hours on this date.  Fire had now burned up to 47,500 acres and had a 20% containment status. This fire was now reportedly burning 15 miles south of East Wenatchee.  275 personnel were assigned.

170701 Sutherland Canyon Fire

Red Flag weather conditions create active fire behavior as seen in this photo of the Sutherland Canyon Fire on June 29, 2017.

It was also said that on this second day in a row, RED FLAG conditions were warranted due to dry and gusty winds and due to extreme fire growth in steep and rugged terrain.  Both the Sutherland Canyon Fire and the Straight Hollow Fire merged into a single wildfire at the east and southeast flanks displaying the most active fire behavior in both of these locations.  Overnight, firefighters and bulldozers worked to construct and hold fire containment lines where they could engage the fire in a safe manner.  Fire officials were working to keep the fire from spreading towards nearby town of Quincy.

June 30, 2017.  Due to more accurate mapping and better visibility by aerial recon flights, the number of acres was reduced and discovered that the Sutherland  Canyon and the Straight Hollow fires did not actually merge together.  However, they were found to be burning 1/4 miles apart from one another.   The Incident Command Post or ICP was felt it necessary to move to the Quincy High School campus so that they could be closer to both fires.  Fire was now located 6 miles NW of Quincy. There had been 29,433 acres scorched and was now being reported as having a 50% containment.

July 1, 2017.  Fire Managers reported the fire was now at a 74% containment and holding at 29,433 acres.

July 2, 2017.  The fire was holding at 29,433 acres with a 90% containment status. This was said to be the last fire update.


June 30, 2017.  This fire was reported about 1/4 mile from the Sutherland Canyon fire.  11 miles northwest of Quincy.  8,458 acres. 75% contained.  It had been reported that this fire had merged into directly to the Sutherland Canyon Fire but later was determined not to be the case.

July 1, 2017.  Fire crews were still showing the fire was holding at 8,458 acres with a 75% containment status.

July 2, 2017.  8,458 acres. Containment status increased to 90%. No increase in acreage and minimal fire behavior observed.  Fire crews conducted patrolling, mop-up and repair operations. Additionally, repair work included building water bars, smoothing out berms and repairing fences cut during fire suppression efforts.  Aerial recon flights with infrared imaging equipment checked various areas for heat signatures. The Temporary Flight Restriction or TFR was lifted over the fire.  The NW Team 11 unit transitioned over to a local Type 3 IMT on Monday, July 3, 2017.

This was the final fire update.


June 27, 2017.  The Spartan Fire was a second fire that ignited on June 26.  It was located five miles SE of Wenatchee with the same fire fuels.  160 firefighters were assigned including handcrews and dozers.  4,500 acres. 10% contained.  Active fire spread to the southwest.

170626 Spartan Fire

A USFS handcrew preps to work overnight on the Spartan Fire. Photo taken on June 26, 2017. (Credit: Holly Krake/USFS)

June 28, 2017.  No update.

June 29, 2017.  The fire grew to 9,000 acres scorched and had a 60% containment status.  It was now located nine miles SE of Wenatchee.  There were 50 personnel assigned.   Fire Officials were happy to report that all containment lines held and no new fire growth overnight. Crews were tasked with actively monitoring potential hotspots and patches of unburned grass within the fire perimeter.

170626 Planning

In order to lead and organize their fire crews, Interagency fire managers must work together to come up with a plan. Here they are working together doing just that. Spartan Fire on June 26, 2017. (Credit: Holly Krake/USFS)

June 30, 2017.  Fire activity showing minimal activity and that all containment lines continue to hold.  Crews were tasked with patrol and to begin repairing of fire line used during suppression efforts.  Two 24-hour shifts of fire crews have been assigned.

July 1, 2017.  The fire was deemed to have a 100% containment status and listed 8,730 acres burned.  Fire command was turned back over to a local fire jurisdiction which included Chelan FD and WA State DNR) at 0600 on Saturday.  This would be the last fire update from NW Team 11.

170629 Retardant Drop

Fire suppression from the air assists those on the ground as well, Without this resource would make ground crews’ jobs much more difficult.


Multiple fire agencies came together for a single purpose – put the wildfire out.   The Incident Cooperators for this event was the BLM, Chelan County Office of Emergency Chelan Co OEM), Chelan County Fire District 6, Chelan County Sheriff Office and WA DNR.


On June 29, 2017, Grant County had Level 2 evacuations in order for residents in parts of NW Quincy and southwest of Monument Hill.  Douglas County would instill Level 3 orders for those along the Palisades Road corridor and at the Hwy 28 Junction.  Level 2 were in effect for the Trinidad area along Mansfield Rd.  A church and the Humane Society opened their doors for people and their pets, as shelters.  Chelan County issued Level 1 orders for the Colockum Road, Kingsbury Road, Moss Carr Road, Ingersoll Road and Tarpiscan Road.

On June 30th, all evacuation orders were lifted.


Smoke impacts on June 29, 2017 were expected to spread to the east towards Quincy and reaching possibly to the furthest areas such as Spokane and Moses Lake.  It was likely that the light canyon winds would push up  the smoke into the Wenatchee Valley.


FIRE FACT: In 2017, there were a total of 2,079 human-caused wildfires burning 262,328 total acres in WA & OR. OR: 906 fires, 172,887 acres WA: 1173 fires, 89,441 acres  year-to-date.

is everything.


All Fire Images not listing a Photo Credit underneath are due to multiple images used by the same Photographer/Source.  We give full photo credit to WA DNR – SE Region via Inciweb.  All photo credits have been given to the best of our ability.  We give KUDOS to the men and women behind the camera showcasing firefighters in action from the air and on the ground.

[Source:  GACC/NWCC]

(c) 2017 NW Fire Blog