Lightning Sparks New Wildfires Near Blewett Pass

Kittitas County Fire
Photo of fire staging area provided by County Sheriff's Office

Update: Monday

Iron East Fire: 25 acres; 0% containment
Location: 12 miles northeast of Cle Elum, WA 
Start Date: September 7, 2018
Cause: Lightning

Iron West Fire: 10 acres; 20% containment
Location: 12 miles northeast of Cle Elum, WA
Start Date: September 7, 2018
Cause: Lightning

Current Activity: At approximately 10pm on Friday, lightning started two fires in the Blewett Pass vicinity in heavy dead and down timber. Fire managers have been utilizing both air and ground resources to engage these fires where it is safe to do so in the steep and rugged terrain.

Sunday, hand crews continued building fireline on the Iron West Fire throughout the day. Favorable weather conditions allowed for air support of water and retardant drops to slow fire growth. On the Iron East Fire, dozers worked to build fireline. Fire mangers are utilizing existing roads in the area as barriers to help limit fire spread.

Evacuations: A Level 2 (GO now) evacuation is in effect for approximately 12 homes in the vicinity of the Iron East Fire. Engines are actively patrolling these areas.

Closures: Closures are in place for trails in the area including the West Iron and Iron Bear Trails. Road closures include Forest Service Roads 9714 and 9715/7320. Maps and information on the closure will be available on Inciweb.

Smoke/Weather: Although a slight chance of moisture is possible for Monday morning, the afternoon will be warm and dry with a potential for increased fire behavior and growth. A smoke column may be from Cle Elum, WA.

Sunday Story:

The Kittitas County Sheriff’s office reports two new wildfires burning in the Blewett Pass area. Officials say the fires were flared by Friday’s lightning storm.

Kittitas County Sheriff’s News Release:

Kittitas County, WA – 09/09/2018 – The lightning storm that passed through Kittitas County Friday evening started two fires on U.S. Forest Service lands near Blewett Pass.

The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office continues to work closely with a mobilized Type 3 Incident Management Team that has now been set up at the Kittitas Valley Event Center in Ellensburg for the Iron East and Iron West wild land fires burning in a remote area near Blewett Pass.

The east fire is currently approximately 18 to 20 acres in size and the west fire is approximately 5 acres in size and it is believed both fires were started by lightning strikes on Friday evening.

The management team will begin using around 170 firefighters tomorrow morning for the operation. There are currently several structures in Chelan County that could potentially be threatened depending on the movement of the fire.

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Steve Hair
Steve Hair is a 40-year veteran broadcast journalist who comes to NCW LIFE TV after a long career in radio. Steve and his wife Lynette and their three sons moved to the Wenatchee Valley from Central California in 1992. Steve served as News Director for KPQ News where he covered a multitude of stories of importance to North Central Washington, including two of Washington State’s largest wildfires. During his radio career Steve has received many awards from organizations such as the Associated Press, (Sacramento and Seattle Bureaus) The Washington State Farm Bureau, and the California Medical Association. Steve is a sports addict. Time off usually finds him sprawled out on the couch watching the Seahawks, Mariners or anything that prevents him from doing house chores.