[pct-l] PCT closed from Rainy Pass--Manning Park on alert

Tom Griffin griffin at u.washington.edu
Wed Sep 6 13:11:06 CDT 2006

Here is the latest information from Canadian Press. Looks like the 
Manning Park Resort folks are now on evacuation alert. I was just there 
last Friday, and although there was lots of smoke in the valley, we had 
no indication it would get this bad this quickly. I have also posted the 
Forest Service announcement about closing the Pasayten Wilderness, 
including the PCT from Rainy Pass to the border.

Tom Griffin
PCT Pages: http://griffinte.home.comcast.net/pct.html

Tatoosh fire continues to grow after crossing border
Canadian Press
Spet. 6, 2006

VANCOUVER — An evacuation alert has been issued to residents around 
B.C.'s Manning Park as the 21-square-kilometre Tatoosh fire encroaches 
on the park's fringes.

The alert covers residents of Eastgate, Pasayten River Valley and 
Manning Park, said Mary Ann Leach of the Kamloops Fire Centre.

“It's just an alert, not an order, to get people ready ... in case they 
do have to leave on short notice,” she said.

It was not immediately known how many people were affected by the order 
in the area southeast of Vancouver.

Fire information officer Jeff Moore said on Tuesday the fire was “zero 
per cent contained.”

“We fully expect that size has increased today,” said Mr. Moore, adding 
smoke conditions still make estimating the size of the fire difficult.

The current estimate of the fire that began Aug. 22 in Washington state 
and crossed the border came after overnight infrared photography 
provided by the U.S military.

Meanwhile, the Tripod Complex fire in north-central Washington state, 
burning since July 24, has also been sending a steady stream of smoke 
and ash into Canada.

It was 1.5 kilometres from the international border by Tuesday evening.

“It is inching its way closer so we are monitoring and planning for it 
hitting the border,” said fire information officer Colette Fauchon.

Dense smoke was still hampering efforts to battle the growing Tatoosh fire.

Mr. Moore said some wind out of the north allowed greater visibility for 
fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with buckets to attack the blaze. 
But the drought-like conditions were complicating the battle.

“There are no adequate water supplies that can be fed directly to a 
retardant base location,” Mr. Moore said. “The other limitation is the 
large aircraft — even though they're helicopters — need relatively large 
areas in which to operate.

“It's not business as usual for us,” he said. “The drought this summer 
has certainly affected water supply,” though catch basins collecting 
snow melt and valley-bottom rivers can be used as water sources.

Firefighters are trying to build guards around the fire and burn off 
fuel in front of the advancing blaze to allow air tankers and 
helicopters to support those efforts.

The fire was not threatening residences but was on the southeastern 
border of Manning Park as of Tuesday morning, said Mr. Moore.

He said an infrared flight overnight Monday detected a “spot fire” north 
of the Tatoosh fire that was 250 hectares in size.

“This is just proof of what we've been indicating all along, that the 
smoke in that valley is hampering our visibility and ability to detect 
new fires,” he said.

The biggest issue is the safety of the personnel fighting the fire.

“Had we had people on the ground in front of that fire they may well 
have been stuck between two large fires.”

Most of the ground and air firefighters were assembled in Princeton 
waiting for an opportunity to battle the blaze.

A number of back roads in the Pasayten wilderness area, which skirts the 
border, have been closed but no major highway routes have been affected.

An emergency centre has been established in Princeton but no formal 
evacuation alerts have been issued.


September 5, 2006

The entire Pasayten Wilderness has been closed due to the Tripod and 
Tatoosh Wildfires.
The Tripod Fire is aggressively burning the eastern portion of the 
Wilderness in the Horseshoe Basin , and reached the Chewuch and Tungsten 
Rivers on September 4th. The Tatoosh Fire is burning the western portion 
of the Wilderness, in the Pasayten River and Lost River drainages. 
Extreme fire behavior is pushing the fire towards the Pacific Crest 
Trail, and farther into Canada .

The Methow Valley Ranger District is looking closely at fire locations, 
anticipated weather, and natural fire barriers to see if some portions 
of the Wilderness can be opened for High Hunt. Please contact the 
district office at 509-996-4003 for the latest information.

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