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The Carlton Complex fires started on July 14, by lightning from a weather system that moved through the Methow Valley. The fires are burning in timber and grass. Cooperating agencies include the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Washington State Department of Natural Resources, (WA DNR), Bureau of Land Management, WA Department of Fish & Wildlife, Okanogan Fire District 6, Okanogan Fire District 15 and the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office. As of late last night, approximately 215,000 acres have been burned.
Friday was another challenging day for fire crews. Focus has been on point protection of numerous structures and communities within proximity of the fire. Large numbers of evacuations have occurred and continue. The Red Cross Shelter has been moved to the town of Omak. Displaced public can make contact with the Omak Red Cross Shelter at (509) 663-3907. Two additional shelters have been opened in Twisp and Chelan. The Okanogan Sheriff’s Office reports 80-100 structures have been confirmed lost.
Firefighters with Fire District 6 and 15 have been working closely with the Incident Management Team on protection of their communities. Public and firefighter safety is the highest priority.
Today, structure protection crews will focus efforts patrolling and monitoring around structures. Firefighters are working with property owners to help reduce vegetation and remove debris. A command post has been set up in the area with Okanogan, Douglas, Chelan, and Grant County Emergency Management. Additional state mobilization resources have arrived for structure protection.
Multiple road closures are in effect and closures can change quickly due to the fire situation. Hwy 97 from Brewster to Pateros and Hwy 97 from Chelan to Pateros are closed. Portions of Hwy 20 and Hwy 153 are being closed intermittently. You can contact the “511” automated Washington Department of Transportation Travel Information line for updated information.
Forest Service Area Closures: All USFS land south of the Twisp River Rd. and the #37 Rd are closed. This includes the entire Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness on both the Methow and Chelan sides of the ridge, with the exception of the Lakeside Trail near Chelan. Also included is the South Summit area of the Methow Ranger District.
Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office Evacuation Levels:
With the dynamic fire situation, information on specific evacuation areas is fluid. Up to date information should be obtained from the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office.
LEVEL 1: Persons are warned that current or projected threats from hazards associated with the approaching fires are severe. This is the time to prepare.
LEVEL 2: Conditions indicate a good probability that hazards associated with the approaching fires will severely limit our ability to provide emergency service protection. You must prepare to leave at a moment’s notice. This may be the only notice that you receive.
LEVEL 3: Current conditions present specific and immediate threats to the life and safety of persons within this area. You are advised to evacuate immediately.
Please do not wait until the last minute to consider and to implement your evacuation. Last minute egress of large numbers of people and vehicles causes undue safety challenges to firefighters and to the public. It is far better to leave too early than to wait too late.
***Red Cross Shelters for evacuees include: