Crews reach 51 percent containment on Red Apple Fire

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The Red Apple Fire burning over Burch Mountain, as seen Wednesday from the east side of the Columbia River.

WENATCHEE — The Red Apple Fire that has scorched much of Burch Mountain since its start Tuesday is now 51 percent contained, fire managers announced Saturday.

The 11,100-acre fire was blunted somewhat by higher relative humidity beginning late Thursday, allowing crews to shore up firelines and slow its growth. With luck, they said full containment might be possible by Monday, although predicted high temperatures into the 100s and varying winds may complicate the work.

The fire broke out close to 7 p.m. Tuesday along Red Apple Road near Monitor and quickly spread into the foothills and canyons, fueled by grass and brush that was severely parched from the summer’s deadly heatwave that began in late June. However, no homes have been reported lost.

The Swakane Canyon area is currently most vulnerable to the fire’s spread, but operators said winds from the north continue to help suppression. Level 3 “get out now” evacuation notices remain in place for homes along Warner Canyon Road and Coyote Ridge Road, as well as Burch Mountain Road from the end of the pavement.

The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office says it’s determined the fire was human-caused, but said Friday that searches of one Monitor property where the fire was believed to have originated found no evidence that it commenced there. It remains unknown how the fire started.