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Late wildfire burns grasslands near Wenatchee

A late season wildfire just northwest of Wenatchee, Wash., sent firefighters scurrying on Nov. 1. More than 700 acres burned.
Dan Wheat

Capital Press

Published on November 2, 2017 10:01AM

Smoke still rises from hillsides north of Wenatchee, Wash., at 5 p.m. Nov. 1. Upwards of 1,000 acres of federal grassland burned in the latest area wildfires in recent memory. This scene is looking north on North Wenatchee Avenue.

Dan Wheat/Capital Press

Smoke still rises from hillsides north of Wenatchee, Wash., at 5 p.m. Nov. 1. Upwards of 1,000 acres of federal grassland burned in the latest area wildfires in recent memory. This scene is looking north on North Wenatchee Avenue.


WENATCHEE, Wash. — The latest wildfire of any size in recent memory in the Wenatchee area burned more than 700 acres of federal grasslands northwest of town.

One volunteer firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation and dehydration, 226 residences were on prepare-to-evacuate notice for several hours, but there were no other injuries and no structure loss, said Rich Magnussen, Chelan County Emergency Management spokesman.

The fire was first reported at 10:30 a.m., Nov. 1, on the shoulder of Highway 2/97 just west of the town of Monitor about five miles northwest of Wenatchee.

The cause is under investigation, Magnussen said, adding it was definitely man-caused because there was no lightning or natural events. Wind drove the fire up hillsides north of Monitor and west of Warm Springs Canyon. The size is likely to be closer to 1,000 acres, he said.

“The big challenge was resources because summer resources had been released and a house fire in East Wenatchee was tying up firefighters,” Magnussen said.

The three-alarm fire eventually brought a peak of 135 firefighters from Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties and from the state Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, he said.

DNR and the Bureau of Reclamation own the land that was burned which apparently does not include any grazing leases, he said. There were no cattle in the area, he said.

A Chelan County Fire District No. 1 helicopter and water bucket were employed and two bulldozers were used to build firelines. The fire was 70 percent contained by 8 a.m. Nov. 2 and prepare-to-evacuate notices were lifted, he said.



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