Firefighters able to get a handle on a pair of wind-driven brush fires south of Chelan


Firefighters were able to contain two separate wind-whipped brush fires Saturday afternoon and evening south of Chelan.

The biggest of the fires was at Daroga State Park on the Douglas County side of the Columbia River, which forced the shutdown of Highway 97 for more than four hours.

That fire, about 19 miles south of Chelan, also burned a power pole, initially knocking out power to about 570 Douglas County PUD customers in the Orondo area.

Power was restored to about half those customers by about 10 p.m. and the remainder about midnight.

The Daroga State Park fire burned in an area between the park’s campground and the highway before jumping the highway and igniting some trees.

It first was reported about 4:30 p.m. The highway was shut down about an hour later and wasn’t reopened until about 9:45 p.m.

Stayman Flats fire.

As crews were fighting that fire, another brush fire was reported on the other side of the river in the Stayman Flats area of Chelan County.

Chelan Fire and Rescue said winds pushed the fire into rocky hillside terrain, making it easier to contain.

The National Weather Service said its nearest wind measurement site in Entiat recorded wind gusts of up to 45 mph during the fires.

Numerous local, state and federal firefighting agencies fought the fires from both the ground and air.

The shutdown of Highway 97 further complicated travel between Wenatchee and Chelan, with Highway 97A on the other side of the river still closed at Knapps Hill Tunnel for slope stabilization work.

The number of acres burned and causes of the fires was not available Sunday morning.

Chelan Fire and Rescue said their crews also responded to a small brush fire Saturday at 108 Apple Blossom Drive near Walmart but firefighters were able to quickly extinguish that blaze.