Airplane Lake Fire Still 0 Percent Contained, Producing Smoke
The Airplane Lake Fire near Lake Wenatchee is still zero percent contained after being ignited by a lightning strike back on July 7.
The fire continues to produce a lot of smoke, which may have contributed to the recent run of poor air quality in the region.
Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest spokesperson Robin DeMario says the fire is spreading into wilderness, not toward any populated areas to the south.
"Most of the fire's growth over the last couple of days occurred on the west side of the fire," said DeMario. "The fire's progression to the south has been limited due to the use of the helicopter doing water drops in strategic locations."
The fire is burning in the with its westward spread toward the White River drainage and Cascade Crest, with minimal growth down drainage near Indian Creek and the White River confluence.
Fire managers are using natural features (rock escarpments, wet drainage bottoms and old fire scars) as well as water drops to contain the fire.
It currently has a footprint of 2,300 acres. In the last day, fire personnel were able to use infrared sensors mounted on an airplane to more accurately determine its acreage. (Infrared data provides some of the most detailed information on fire progression and perimeters.) The fire was burning only 900 acres as recently as August 16.
Fire growth will continue but will be minimal over the next few days with the wetter and cooler weather forecast. Crews will continue to monitor any movement with hotter weather predicted over the weekend.
There continues to be Level 1 (Get Ready) evacuation notices issued by Chelan County for the forest service section of White River Road.
DeMario says the advisory is meant to remind the public of the fire's presence nearby.
"That's just to be aware that there's a fire in the area," DeMario said. "There's no threat to any county roads or homes, or anything at this time. Just a heads up, people be aware, and continue to follow information about the fire."
Trails and campgrounds in the immediate area that continue to be closed by the forest service include the White River Trail, Boulder Creek Trail, Indian Creek Trail, White River Falls Campground, and Grasshopper Meadows Campground.
The Airplane Lake Fire is located in a mountainous forest area and likely won't be completely out until there's a seasonal change in the weather.