Forecast High Winds Fizzle; Washington Firefighters Make Progress

Predicted high winds that fire crews had feared would stoke two wildfires near Lake Chelan failed to materialize late Tuesday and firefighters reported good progress on both blazes.


CHELAN, Wash. (AP) -- Predicted high winds that fire crews had feared would stoke two wildfires near Lake Chelan failed to materialize late Tuesday and firefighters reported good progress on both blazes.

The fires have burned more than 10,000 acres.

The Beebe Bridge fire, about 3 miles east of the lake and the Columbia River, was reported at between 3,200 and 3,400 acres late Tuesday, said Ray Steiger, a spokesman with the incident management team assigned to the fire.

The fire was burning in steep and rocky grasslands.

Helicopters dropped water from the river on the fire all day and ``it looks at this point like they've got it pretty much subdued,'' he said.

Still, Steiger said the fire was only about 10 percent contained ``and it's much to early to say when it will be controlled.''

About 150 firefighters were assigned to the blaze and crews were scheduled through the night, he said.

Douglas County sheriff's officers had recommended that residents leave some 45 homes after strong winds blew the fire north on Monday night. It was not clear how many actually left; but Steiger said he understood that concern had eased.

No residences have burned in the fire although a couple of outbuildings may have been lost, he said.

Meanwhile, the Pot Peak fire, 15 miles west of the lake in the Twenty-Five Mile Creek drainage, was estimated at about 7,200 acres Tuesday night but crews attacked it all day, said Mike Ferris, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman.

``We did not see the winds we were expecting, which was a good thing,'' he said. ``It allowed us to continue to work on the fire - do more burnouts.''

No homes were directly threatened by that blaze although there were 16 homes downstream from the head of the fire, he said.

Pot Peak was about 35 percent contained, with 930 people assigned to it, including some elite ``hot shot'' crews.

There were no reports of serious injuries in either blaze.

Grass and forest land across Washington are already tinder-dry.

The Hopkins Canyon fire in northeast Washington was contained late Sunday at 8 square miles, but crews were still working to control it.

The Freezeout fire near the U.S.-Canadian border in the Pasayten Wilderness remained at 150 acres and 17 percent containment.

Lightning caused all the fires except the Beebe Bridge blaze, which started Saturday when an owl struck a power line.