Thanks rain! Largest wildfire in Washington state history now 52% contained

Water runoff near Entiat.

Water runoff near Entiat.

OKANOGAN COUNTY — The 250,000-acre Carlton Complex Fire is now 52 percent contained, thanks in part to the rain Wednesday.

“Showers have moderated fire behavior allowing for good progress in line construction,” according to the official carltoncomplex.blogspot.com.

“The Carlton Complex as a whole reached  53% containment this afternoon,” it said. “The jump from 16% to 52% was due to the Carlton-South and Carlton-East zones making significant headway in line construction.”

But the storm moving through the area forced authorities at one point to pull all firefighters off the line late Wednesday afternoon.

Though Wednesday’s rainfall has been a godsend for the more than 2,000 firefighters battling the Carlton Complex Fire in central Washington, a new concern has arisen:

Floods.

Thunderstorms are expected to keep the expanding into the evening.

Cities possibly at risk for flash floods include Wenatchee, Chelan, Entiat, Cashmere, Leavenworth, Mazama, Twisp, Winthrop, Stehekin and others.

Areas with fire scars — places heavily burned by the Carlton Complex Fire — are most likely to see flash flooding, the NWS said.

Officials warned it takes as little as 10 minutes of heavy rain to cause flash flooding and debris flows in areas affected by wildfires, as rain runs off almost instantly from burned soils. For more details on the hazards of flash floods, click here.

The heavy rainfall will not completely quell fires in the area, however. These fires are still burning, and expected to persist through the rain:

  • The Mills Canyon fire affecting residents and motorists in Mills Canyon and other nearby canyons in the Entiat River Valley as well as motorists below the burned areas on Entiat River Road and U.S. Highway 97a.
  •  The Lone Mountain Fire in the Stehekin River Valley affecting residents and recreationists in and below Boulder Creek and those on the Stehekin River road below the Boulder Creek Drainage.
  •  The Canyon, Poison and Peavine fires above the cities of Cashmere and Wenatchee.
  •  The Byrd Canyon Fire affecting residents and motorists in Crum Canyon, Oklahoma Gulch and Byrd Canyon as well as Highway 97 below the canyons.
  •  The First Creek Fire is affecting residents and motorists along First Creek and in the Lake Chelan State Park…as well as those residents that live at the mouth of Granite Creek.
  •  The Goat Fire affecting residents and motorists in Spray Canyon and along Antione Creek.
  •  The Colockum-Tarps fire affecting residents and motorists along Colockum Creek and below Tarpiscan Road.
  •  The Eagle Fire affecting residents and motorists in Bjork Canyon and Eagle Creek Road.
  •  The Chiwaukum Creek Fire affecting Highway 2 at Colockum Creek.

 

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