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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

9/15/2015 North Star Fire and Tunk Complex Update


September 15, 2015, 7:30 AM
Fire Information: 509-826-7140, 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Tunk Block Fire: Firefighters conducted a strategic firing operation in the Tunk Mountain area yesterday to help secure the fireline. The smoke was visible from several areas. Crews continued to construct fire line and mop-up in the large unburned "island" in Tunk Valley. These efforts will continue over the next couple of days. Today crews will continue to mop up any remaining heat near containment lines. Suppression repair of firelines has begun and will continue for several weeks.

North Star Fire:
The crews inserted by helicopter on the top of the cliffs east of Highway 21 near Bear Creek constructed direct line and made good progress yesterday. These efforts will continue for a couple of days. Firefighters continue to construct direct line on the fire's edge east of Swan Butte. Suppression repair of firelines has begun and will continue for several weeks.

Both Fires:   
The Tunk Block and North Star Fires are both very large. The fires combined are approximately 600 square miles. That is a little larger than the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. It is approximately 625 miles from Omak to Grants Pass, OR. Interior islands and pockets will continue to smolder and burn for the next several weeks. People should not be surprised to see smoke from these areas. Crews are actively mapping the extensive network of dozer line on the fires perimeters and the external contingency line built beyond the fire perimeters.
A night shift will be patrolling the fire areas and available to respond to any reports of flare ups near the fires' edges or structures.

Weather:   
The weather is predicted to be similar today as it was yesterday. The next chance for wetting rain is Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Evacuations
: Evacuation levels in the area along Highway 155 and much of the area south of Highway 20 are currently at Level 1 or 2.  Highway 21, from McMann Creek south to Bridge Creek and the Moses Meadows area are at Level 2. For the most current evacuation information, please contact your closest Emergency Operations Center.

Closures:
Much of the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Colville National Forests remain open to recreation, hunting and woodcutting. Closures on National Forest Lands east of Tonasket and south of Highway 20 on the Tonasket Ranger District remain in effect; this includes hunting and woodcutting. Colville Indian Reservation forest and recreational areas within the fires are closed. See the map at http://tinyurl.com/OkaWen-Closure-Map or http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3854418.pdf  for specific closure areas.

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