WENATCHEE, WA – It’s time for NCWLIFE Evening News with Grant Olson for Tuesday, September 5, 2017. And now, a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight — Search and Rescue crews help two hikers in the Enchantments, a two-vehicle injury accident sends four to the hospital and the Swaim trial continues in Chelan County Superior Court. Later on, we’ll have sports, your weather forecast and our feature story today.
It was no holiday for firefighters battling a rash of forest fires in the Pacific Northwest. Dozens of wildfires in Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia have combined to create a suffocating haze of smoke here in the Wenatchee Valley with no sudden end in sight. The smoky conditions have prompted on-going public health problems with poor air quality in the unhealthy to hazardous range and that is expected to continue almost all week. Meanwhile on the fire lines. The Jolly Mountain fire in Kittitas County has grown to over 20-thousand acres. Heavy smoke settled into the valleys again yesterday morning but did not lift until nearly 4 o’clock in some areas of the fire. Once it did, fire behavior increased, but not as significantly as it did on Saturday.
Moderate fire activity allowed firefighters to make good progress in the Teanaway Valley. Crews continued burnouts overnight in the Teanaway and Wagon Wheel. The town of Roslyn remains under a level two evacuation advisory but no homes have been damaged.
The Uno Peak Fire is burning in the steep slopes of the east shore of Lake Chelan on lands managed by the USFS. It is approximately 15 miles uplake from Manson. It is burning in timber, heavy downed wood, brush, and grass. The fire is now measured at over 6-thousand acres. The fire continued to grow to the northeast and throughout the Safety Harbor drainage. There is still a Level 1 evacuation notice for two private in-holdings along the lake, the Llama Ranch area to the south and Canoe Creek to the north. The fire remains approximately 3 miles from these areas. Fire managers confirmed that in spite of continuous efforts using multiple water drops by a Sky Crane helicopter, the fire destroyed the historic Crow Cabin.
Meanwhile, the Jack Creek Fire was spotted Friday afternoon burning in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The Jack Creek fire started by lightning on August 11th. The wildfire is burning approximately 15 miles southwest of Leavenworth, within the Wilderness area and so far has consumed 1800 acres. Fire managers will monitor the wildfire from the air. The fire’s location is in a remote area of the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forest.
The US Forest Service reports additional trail and area closures in Enchantments due to the Jack Creek Fire. The fire is burning in the Eightmile Lake and Stuart Lake drainages and its size is now at 1800 acres. The quick burning blaze prompted immediate evacuations of backpackers and day hikers in the area. Several hundred hikers were safely evacuated from Colchuck, Stuart, Eightmile, Caroline, and the Trout Lake areas. The fire is burning 15 miles southwest of Leavenworth and sat dormant for several weeks before burning into receptive fuels, which caused it grow quickly. U.S. Forest Service officials say the fire is accomplishing forest management objectives by providing for firefighter and public safety and maintaining wilderness values.
Two climbers are back home in Seattle safe and sound after rescuers escorted them off a cliff in the Alpine Wilderness. Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett reports the climbers were rescued from Dragontail Peak about 11 miles southwest of Leavenworth. On Thursday afternoon, 50 year old James Templeton of Seattle and 28 year old Petr Praus of Seattle were attempting the climb via the “Serpentine Arete” route. The climbers got off route and reached a spot where they couldn’t climb any higher and were unable to descend safely and activated their emergency beacons. A Chelan County Sheriff’s Office helicopter (AIR30) responded to the area and located the climbers on a small ledge approximately 100 feet below the summit of Dragontail Peak. AIR 30 inserted a Chelan County deputy, two members of Chelan County Mountain Rescue, and a medic from Lake Chelan Community Hospital into the area. Rescuers were able to reach the climbers, who were not injured, and guide them safely off the mountain.
A Monitor man faces vehicular assault charges in connection with a two-vehicle injury crash in Leavenworth Friday afternoon. WSP Troopers say a car driven by 37 year old Jesus Berduscorincon collided head-on with another vehicle on Highway 2. All four passengers in the second vehicle were injured and transported to Cascade Medical Center for treatment. Troopers say alcohol was involved.
More witness testimony is slated today in Chelan County Superior Court in the first degree murder trial of Bernard Swaim. Swaim is charged in the 1982 cold-case murder of Stephen Smith of Cashmere. Swaim and his ex-wife, Dawn Soles are co-defendants in the case. Soles was also Smith’s former wife. She and Swaim are accused of conspiring to kill Smith over a child custody dispute. Soles was called to the stand last Friday as a witness for the prosecution. She has reportedly agreed to testify against Swaim in return for a lesser charge. Soles claimed that she and Swaim visited Smith at his Cashmere area home in July 1982. She says she was in her daughter’s bedroom when she heard the two men scuffling in the front room. Smith’s body was never found but Soles testified that she noticed blood on Swaim’s arm and clothing later that same evening when he returned to their motel room.
On Saturday night, Washington Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed a state of emergency in all Washington counties due to growing wildfire concerns. Inslee’s proclamation points out the fact that firefighting resources throughout the state and western United States is limited due to existing and projected fire conditions and activities throughout the region. The Governor’s proclamation also allows the use of Washington National Guard resources to help fight fires, and direct state agencies to utilize state resources to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected areas. The State Emergency Operations Center is currently activated at level 2 to help monitor the situation and coordinate state firefighting efforts.
If you were driving on Eastmont or Grant Road in East Wenatchee this morning you probably noticed something was literally off. At 10:13 this morning a large section of East Wenatchee lost power. Initially reported by neighbors living near the power plant on 10th street, claim they heard “loud pops” coming from the plant. The transformer that was the cause of the outage, passed power from the bottom of Grant Road, through Valley Mall Parkway and on to Eastmont Avenue. The outage affected 580 customers within the zone, including schools and businesses as well as any homes in the area. Douglas County PUD crews worked quickly to divert the power supply to get things up and running. Power was restored to all affected locations in just over an hour.
An English Teacher at WestSide High School has been nominated for the 2017-2018 LifeChanger of the Year Award, which recognizes K-12 educators who make a difference in the lives of students through excellence, positive influence and leadership. WestSide Principal Kory Kalahar said he nominated Jennifer Devereaux for her compassion for students. LifeChangers finalists and winners receive cash prizes to be shared with their school districts, with announcements coming later this year.
On the Les Schwab Scoreboard from Friday night…
Southridge 24, Wenatchee 21
Kamiakin 35, Eastmont 6
Caribou Trail League
Ephrata 21, Cashmere 10
East Valley (Yakima) 34, Cascade 26
Quincy 35, Chelan 7
Central Valley 2, Wenatchee 0
Caribou Trail League Soccer
Cascade 5, Kings 2
NCW B Football
Entiat 82, Northport 0
On the Prep Schedule for Today
Wenatchee at Ellensburg, postponed
Brewster at Chelan, postponed
Eastmont at Cashmere, postponed
Ephrata at Cascade, postponed
Okanogan at Waterville, 6:30pm
Cascade at Naches Valley, 6:30pm
On the Les Schwab Scoreboard of College Football over the weekend…
Washington State 31, Montana State 0
Washington 30, Rutgers 14
Texas Tech 56, Eastern Washington 10
Central Washington 34, Texas A&M Kingsville 10
Coming up this Saturday…
Western Oregon at Central Washington, 1pm
North Dakota State at Eastern Washington, 1pm
Montana at Washington, 5pm
Boise State at Washington State, 7:30pm
Houston scored four runs in the 7th inning to break a 2-2 tie and went on for a 6-2 win over the Mariners Monday at Safeco Field as we look at the Les Schwab Scoreboard. The loss snapped Seattle’s three-game winning streak after sweeping Oakland over the weekend. The Astro’s 7th was highlighted by a two-run double by Alex Bergman and a two-run single by Josh Reddick off Marc Rzepczynski and Luke Vincent. Manager Scott Servais said it was kind of a flip-flop where they got a good start on the mound but couldn’t back it up. Dallas Keuchel was dominant in picking up his 12th win of the season, going 7 and 2/3rds, allowing 2-runs on 7-hits and striking out 5. Seattle and Houston play the middle game of the 3-game set tonight at 7:10 with the Astro’s newly-acquired Justin Verlander getting the start against the Mariner’s Ariel Miranda.
A quick look at where the Mariners are in the Wild Card Race…
Kansas City 7, Detroit 6
New York 7, Baltimore 4
LA 11, Oakland 9 (11-innings)
Tampa Bay 11, Minnesota 4
Texas 8, Atlanta 2
Wild Card Standings
New York 74-63 +3.0
Minnesota 71-66 …
LA Angels 71-67 0.5
Baltimore 70-68 1.5
Texas 69-68 2.0
Seattle 69-69 2.5
Finally, the Seahawks set their 53-man roster over the weekend in preparation for their first regular season game this Sunday at Green Bay. To a surprise to many, wide receiver Kasen Williams was waived and quickly picked up by Cleveland. So too was backup quarterback Trevone Boykin in favor of Austin Davis. The Seahawks also traded Tramaine Brock to Minnesota for a 7th round pick. They traded a 7th round pick to Kansas City for offensive lineman Isiah Battle and traded Cassius Marsh to New England for a 5th and 7th round picks. Seattle’s kickoff Sunday at Lambeau Field is set for 1:25 on Q-13 FOX.
North Central Washington skies will remain choked by wildfire smoke tonight and through Wednesday thanks to that persistent upper-level ridge you can see on our satellite loop. It’s been in place over the great basin in Utah for almost two weeks now and there is little change expected. Wednesday will also have the potential to bring near record warmth but regional smoke definitely adds a lot of uncertainty to the temperature forecast for the next few days so I backed off somewhat on mid to upper 90’s for high temperatures. Wednesday night through Thursday…Weather models have settled on a common solution featuring a break in the current hot and stagnant pattern over the area after mid-week with increasing confidence that the smoke issues should improve after mid-week. The deep upper level trough visible on satellite off the Pacific coast will merge with the remains of a tropical system off the California coast and force the hot western US ridge axis eastward beginning Wednesday night. Thursday will be another warm day…and mainly dry still. The approaching trough will inject some deeper moisture into the area mainly over the Cascades on Thursday with a slight chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms over the high terrain near the crest. Friday and Friday night will bring probably the best chance of precipitation to the region for the upcoming week with a slight chance of rain over our forecast area. Noticeably cooler temperatures will also return to the area on Friday and continue through the weekend.