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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

8/9/2017 Noisy Creek Fire Update

Metaline Falls, WA – Metaline Falls, WA – A community meeting took place last night in Metaline Falls. About 85 persons and local officials met to hear about fire activity, operations, future planning for the fire, and to ask questions. Yesterday firefighters succeeded in burning out sections of the northern flank to reduce the fuel load and help stop fire growth. Helicopters drop plastic spheres that look like “ping-pong” balls which ignite vegetation once they hit the ground in locations where the fire will meet the existing fire. Ground crews support the operation by also burning out from the ground, and by reinforcing handlines along the perimeter of the fire. Burnout tactics are very important to fire management as they allow the firefighters to fight the fire on their terms, not the fire’s terms. This is especially important on this fire where the terrain is very steep, heavily timbered or rocky, making it dangerous for ground crews.

Firefighters plan to conduct more burnout today in the northwest portion of the fire provided conditions are favorable. Campers at Sullivan Lake can expect to see smoke from the burn-out operation and possibly some torching as patches of heavy timber ignite and the fire is expected to continue creeping up and down the slopes. Mop-up will continue along the southern flank.

Evacuation Notice: The area surrounding East Sullivan Lake Campground (including the group use area and boat launch) is under a Level 2 Evacuation status. Level 2 means “Get Set” – be ready to go at a moment’s notice. For boaters, please have boats loaded and ready to leave the area.
The three U.S. Forest Service permitted recreational cabins and the trails accessing them on the northeast corner of Sullivan Lake near the Hall Creek outlet are under a Forest Service area closure and will be vacated. Individuals within the Level 2 Evacuation areas will be notified by officials of any change in status. West Sullivan Lake Campground and the area immediately north of Sullivan Lake to Mill Pond, extending east from Outlet Creek, will remain at Level 1 (“Get Ready”).
Evacuation information will be updated daily on the bulletin board at the Sullivan Lake Day use access and at the Sullivan Lake Ranger Station. For evacuation notifications in Pend Oreille County, sign up for NIXLE alerts: https://local.nixle.com/pend-oreille-county-sheriffs-office. These evacuation levels are based on recommendations from NW Team 11 and implemented by the Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office.

Public and firefighter safety: Boaters are asked to stay 100 ft. from the southeast side of Sullivan Lake due to rockfall and debris in the water. Stay at least 500 ft. from airplane and helicopter activity on the water. There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) in place over the fire. Drone flights are illegal in the fire area and compromise firefighting work.

Weather: Light, northerly winds continue and temperatures will increase over the next few days. Air quality remains an issue. If you are sensitive to smoke, check air quality levels at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa



Road Closures: National Forest System Road (NFS) No. 2200500 closed from its intersection with NFS Road No. 2200 to its terminus at the Hall Mt. Trailhead. Sullivan Creek Rd. No. 2200 closed from just past East Sullivan Lake Campground to Pass Creek Pass. Harvey Creek Rd. No. 1935 closed between Sullivan Lake Rd. and the junction with the Onata Creed Rd. (Rd. No. 1935 024). Campground & Trail Closures: Noisy Creek Campground closed. All travel prohibited on the following NFS Trails: Lakeshore Trail No. 504; Noisy Creek Trail No. 588; Hall Mt. Trail No. 540; Hall Mountain-Grassy Top Trail No. 533; Grassy Top Trail No. 503 from Pass Creek Pass to its intersection with Hall Mt.-Grassy Top Trail No. 533; Portions of the Pacific NW Trail are rerouted south of the fire area.

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