Manastash Ridge and Conrad Lake Fires
August 24, 2013
Helicopter water drop south of Manastash Ridge in subalpine fir fuel type. August 23, 2013.
Credit: Jared Treser Larry Nickey, Incident Commander
Brian Gales, Deputy Incident Commander
Manastash Ridge Fire Information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3697
Conrad Lake Fire Information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3629
Fire Information Center
(509) 607-6321 Hours:7 AM-9 PM
Subdued fire activity and smoke due to cool, moist weather conditions.
Manastash Ridge Fire now 2,320 acres burning in high elevation forests near Cle Elum, Washington
Cle Elum, Wash. – The Manastash Ridge Fire, mapped for the first time yesterday from aircraft, is now estimated to cover 2,320 acres of high-elevation forests in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The fire is approximately 12 miles southwest of Cle Elum, Wash., near Shoestring Lake on the North side of the Manastash Ridge Trail, approximately three miles southwest of Manastash Camp. Cooler, moist weather Friday reduced fire activity and growth, producing less visible smoke. This weather pattern is expected to continue through the weekend.
The Washington Interagency Incident Management Team #4, under the command of Larry Nickey, incident commander, is managing the Manastash Ridge Fire and also took over management of the Conrad Lake Fire at 6 a.m. today. The Conrad Lake Fire, located 35 miles southwest from Naches, covers approximately 1,000 acres and is currently 25% contained. The low containment level is due to the fire having so much open line in the wilderness. Management of the Conrad Lake Fire is in a monitoring phase with 150 people assigned. 216 personnel are currently working on the Manastash Ridge Fire, including 9 firefighting crews, 1 falling crew, and 3 helicopters.
These fires are not threatening homes or structures at this time. Despite cooler, moist weather, gusty winds may cause occasional torching and spotting in the Manastash Ridge Fire. The ground is extremely difficult to access over the basalt rock terrain. Roads into the area are very rough, but dozers and graders are being used to improve access. Fire suppression activities are focused on keeping the fire from spotting into stringers of timber below and south of the Ridge. Forest Service Road 3100 (Manastash Canyon Road) will be used as the contingency containment line to the north of the Manastash Fire. Several small fires ignited by lightning on August 22 near Highway 12 west of Naches are being suppressed by initial attack crews and helicopter water drops.
Road and trail closures around both fire areas remain in effect. The Forest Service may expand the closure area around Manastash Ridge due to changing fire conditions and increased firefighter traffic. These popular outdoor recreation and hunting areas will see increased public and firefighter traffic over the weekend. To ensure public and firefighter safety, visitors need to drive carefully and stay out of closure areas. Only firefighters, Forest Service or other agency personnel, and law enforcement are allowed access to closure areas. Closure notices have been posted at trailheads and other entry points. A detailed list of closures is available on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website.
The current strategy for managing the Manastash Ridge Fire is a combination of indirect attack by establishing contingency lines, use of natural fire barriers, and some direct control. Operational tactics being used today include reconnaissance, improving access, and fire line preparation. Divisions on the south perimeter will be suppressing spot fires and preventing movement of fire through timber stringers into unburned forests to the south. Ensuring the safety of firefighters working in this rugged area is the top priority. The proposed actions keep firefighters safely away from the fire, allowing time for limited resources to complete fire lines. Today, eight additional 20-person fire crews have been assigned to the Manastash Ridge Fire.
The Manastash Ridge Fire was started by lightning, along with approximately 30 others on August 9. All of the local fires started on August 9 except this one and the Conrad Lake Fire were controlled by initial attack forces. The Manastash Ridge Fire, burning at 6,000 feet elevation in subalpine fir/whitebark pine forest types, became active on Monday, August 19. Jumpers and rappellers attempted to make use of natural rock barriers, helicopter water bucket drops and some retardant to slow fire spread. Retardant dropped along the east flank of the fire and along the rim of the Ridge Wednesday was not effective in stopping the spread of the fire because gusty winds were producing ¼-mile spotting.
There is no estimated containment of the Manastash Ridge Fire at this time.
Road and trail closures south of the Manastash Ridge Fire include Forest Service Road 1701 before the Funny Rocks Area and the 1900 road system leading north from Little Naches to Quartz Mountain. On the Cle Elum side, closures include the Manastash Ridge Trail, Shoestring Trail, and roads south from Manastash and Rider’s Camps. Manastash Canyon Road (FS Road 3100) is open to Quartz Mountain. Road closures near the Conrad Lake Fire include National Forest Roads 1000, 1204, 1205, 1200-725, and the 1070 between its junction with the 1000 to its junction with 1070-595. Trail closures include Bear Creek Mountain trail #1130 and Conrad Meadows. Area closures include Rimrock Peninsula Recreation Area and the boat launch. There is no access from the 1200 road onto the 1200-711, 1200-712, 1200-713, 1200-714, 1200-715, 1200-716, 1200-725, and 1200-653 roads. Current closure information is available on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website.
Roads near the fire will continue to be assessed for closure needs. Closures will depend upon fire activity, weather conditions, and other factors. Visitors should be aware of closures and monitor web sites or call Manastash Fire Information at (509) 607-6321.
To stay informed of changing air quality conditions, view http://wasmoke.blogspot.com/
Manastash Ridge Fire Facts – Saturday, August 24, 2013 – 0900 HOURS
Fire Size: approximately 2,320 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Evacuations: No home or structures threatened.
Manastash Ridge Closures Summary: A detailed list of closures is available on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website. On the Naches side this includes Forest Service Road 1701 before the Funny Rocks Area and the 1900 road system leading north from Little Naches to Quartz Mountain. On the Cle Elum side, closures include the Manastash Ridge Trail, Shoestring Trail, and roads south from Manastash and Rider’s Camps. Manastash Canyon Road (FS Road 3100) is open to Quartz Mountain.
Fuels: Heavy ground and ladder fuels, high elevation subalpine fir and whitebark pine forest.
Air Resources: Two air attack platforms, two Type II helicopters and one Type III helicopter.
Crews: 9 Type II hand crews and 1 feller crew
Engines: 0 Dozers: 2 Water Tenders: 3 Road graders: 2
Total Personnel: Approx. 216 (68 overhead)