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August 23, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Cooler temperatures, rain slow some Northwest wildfire growth

Cooler temperatures and wet weather have slowed the growth of several wildfires across the Northwest.

However, that did not seem to be the case for the fire at Manastash Ridge outside of Ellensburg. After an aerial evaluation, the fire was estimated at 1,400 acres and zero percent contained late Friday, a spokesman said.

Glenn Kohler, a spokesman at the Manastash Ridge Fire, said five new small starts have popped up near Highway 12 around Rimrock Retreat and Oak Creek Wildlife area.

On Saturday morning, crews from the Conrad Lake Fire, which has burned nearly 1,000 acres but remained at 25 percent containment Friday, will join those at Manastash Ridge as the Conrad Lake force is downsized.

The Conrad Lake fire was in a “monitor phase” Friday night, spokeswoman Karen Lipley said. Because it had not spread, about a fourth of the crew will either go home or head to Manastash Ridge, she said.

Neither fire is threatening any homes or other structures.

The rain and lower temperatures slowed the Eagle Fire outside Leavenworth overnight Thursday to give crews the upper hand in defending homes on the fire’s southern edge along Eagle Creek Road.

By this morning, strike teams had cleared brush and other flammables to create a 200-foot buffer to defend more than 60 homes and outbuildings beyond milepost 3 in the steep-sided valley.

Growth has also slowed on that wind-whipped wildfire in the Columbia Gorge after overnight thunderstorms dropped a tenth of an inch of rain.

But the new moisture and high humidity also meant firefighters could not conduct burnouts Friday to strengthen fire lines on the western front of the Government Flat Complex.

The fire has grown to 18 square miles and moved about three miles into the Mount Hood National Forest. The fire is 20 percent contained and continues to draw more firefighters, which now number more than 1,000.

No more structures have burned, but evacuation orders remain in effect for scattered rural residents on the northern flank of Mount Hood in an area about 10 miles southwest of The Dalles.

 

Comments | More in Environment, The Blotter | Topics: conrad lake fire, eagle fire, government flat fire


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