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Monday, September 14, 2015

9/14/2015 Tunk Block and North Star Fire Update

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 today. These efforts will continue for several days. The fire near Barrett Butte “fell off” the cliffs and progressed to Highway 21. There were no spots across highway 21. Firefighters are constructing direct line on the fire’s edge east of Swan Butte. Suppression repair has begun.

Both Fires: The Tunk Block and North Star Fires are both very large. The fires combined are over 590 square miles. That is four times the size of the city of Seattle or about the size of the city of Los Angles. It is approximately 590 miles from Seattle to Helena, MT. 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. 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 expected to be cooler yet dry Monday with a slight chance of a light shower in the evening. Temperatures are expected to fall into the 60’s reducing fire activity.

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 National Forest remains 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 for specific closure areas. The Colville National Forest also has in place Forest closure orders for the North Star and Keller Fires. See map at http://www.fs.usda.gov/colville. The Colville National Forest also has in place Forest closure orders for the North Star and Keller Fires. See map at http://www.fs.usda.gov/colville

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