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Category Archives: wildfire

Two fires are burning in our watershed right now, both out of control. The Cub Creek 2 fire is burning to the north and generally away from people and homes. Hopefully everyone was evacuated from the wilderness backcountry. The Cedar Creek fire is advancing at a steady pace towards many homes. It has crept down the mountains towards highway 20 in the upper valley where it is meeting up with bulldozer lines put in to stop it. Hopefully those lines held overnight. And it has crossed Lucky Jim Bluff and now Virginia Ridge and is bearing down on neighborhoods just outside of Winthrop. Many people were put on level 3 evacuation notices overnight. Hazardous smoke fills the valley and I cannot see across to the other side.

We have not received an evacuation notice. I imagine we will be doing more firewise stuff around our house today and packing in case we decide to leave. The fire is less than ten miles from here and covering more ground everyday.

Last night there was a brief reprieve from the smoke and I saw the northern horizon for the first time in a couple of days. The fire to the right is Cub Creek and to the left is Cedar Creek. You can read about these fires on Inciweb.

It’s fire season and once again we are getting no breaks. There is a large fire (Crescent Mountain) burning in the upper Twisp River that is causing great concern locally. So far, it has stayed away from homes but there is no containment on it. There are fires in southern British Columbia that are also burning out of control and when the wind is right, the smoke descends on us and fills the valley. These images are from last week when the visibility was better than it is now.

Weather has assisted fire fighters in the containment of the Twisp River Fire during the last few days. After a week of smothering smoke cloaking our valley, a couple of cold fronts passed through over the weekend, clearing the air with breezes and some rainfall. It’s a great relief. Yesterday brought blue skies and cool temperatures and a smoke-free atmosphere to the Methow. I hope the same thing is happening with the rest of the fire-ravaged landscape around the west.

Many homes in the Twisp River valley were saved by dedicated fire fighters. Our friends’ house is one of those. They live near the river and they asked me to come by to photograph their home and surroundings to preserve the memories of this event. Yesterday we joined them for a tour of their burned property. While much of the garden was burned, there is still food to salvage. The tomatoes, despite their scorched skin are still good on the inside! Corn cooked on the stalk tastes like corn cooked on the grill. Rhubarb is already coming back and the zucchini plant has new blossoms! This garden is a fire survivor!

Last year we were some of the fire survivors. This year, with the devastating fires in North Central Washington, there are many more fire survivors.

If you follow the news, you have probably seen my little town’s name featured the last few days. A human-caused fire started just a few miles from Twisp and rapidly burned some houses and took the lives of three fire fighters. It’s been an enormous tragedy.

We evacuated for two days while the fire behavior and wind were erratic and there was a possibility it could come over the ridge to our house. Luckily for us, it did not. The fire line is about a mile and a half away, as the raven flies. We returned, even though the whole valley was on level 3 evacuation notice, to see what was going on and to make our place safer. We keep our bags packed in case we need to flee again. Friday evening we went to Patterson Lake and watched the aerial fight to slow down the fire’s approach to a forested neighborhood. The pilots flying these planes are tremendously courageous to do what they do. Who ever imagined that DC10’s would be used for fire suppression? In addition to the big jets there are at least four small planes that can fly across a lake’s surface and suck water into pontoons to be dropped on the burning fire. There have been a wide variety of helicopters and other planes in use also.

The last couple of days there has been some cooler weather, holding the smoke close to the ground smothering most of Washington and grounding the aircraft. This does help the fire fighters on the ground because it also slows down the progress of the fire. When it warms up again and they can see the landscape, hopefully they will see a fire that can be contained.

And this is just one of the smaller fires that are consuming the landscape of our region. The Okanogan fires are much larger and threatening more homes.

Here is an article about the aircraft used in fire suppression.

We drove up Lester Road and walked to Campbell Lake yesterday. This is an area that burned in the Cougar Flats Fire, part of the immense Carlton Complex of wildfires started by lightning last month. This is the fire we could see from our house. Photos of it burning are here. We got home just as the next big rain storm with thunder and lightning was beginning.

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