Firefighters working to protect White Pass ski runs in Miriam Fire
WHITE PASS, Wash. - Firefighters say a wildfire in the Naches area has now burned over 2,000 acres.
Firefighters continue to battle the growing Miriam Fire at 2,135 acres Friday morning, while also sending a crew to a new blaze at Clear Lake, the Clear Fork Fire, which has reached seven acres.
The Miriam Fire is nine percent contained since it was first discovered July 30. Firefighters said the fire is expected to be fully contained September 1.
The U.S. Forest Service said 13 firefighters from Australia began assisting Wednesday morning in fighting the fire. A total of 344 crew members are at the scene.
Smoky conditions limited helicopter use on Thursday, but according to a news release from the Forest Service, crews were able to use a helicopter for bucket drops on the Clear Fork Fire. Officials said portable retardant mixing plant installed at Rimrock Lake enabled helicopters to drop retardant and check the spread of the fire in the Twin Peaks Fire scar.
According to the release, the blaze burned further up the Miriam Creek drainage, close to the Pacific Crest Trail. A new detour for the Pacific Crest Trail has been identified from White Pass south to Elk Pass at trails 79, 78 and 76.
Two crews will continue to construct a handline from Ginnette Lake east to the Twin Peaks Fire scar and work near the White Pass ski runs for the Miriam Fire. Crews will also work on containment lines at both fires to prevent flames from spreading.
Crews plan to use aircraft Friday once a smoke inversion clears up, according to fire officials.
Weather is expected to be hot and dry with winds and possible thunderstorms for Friday and Saturday morning. A Red Flag Warning in effect for the area means fires that start would spread quickly due to conditions.
The USFS cautions of a closure currently in effect at the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Gifford Pinchot National Forests. A map and list of sites impacted in this fire can be found at the incident information page.
People can check the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management's Facebook page for current fire evacuations.