Chelan fire just ‘dress rehearsal’ for upcoming fire season, say experts

Jul 20, 2022, 9:39 AM
Photo from the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center Twitter...
Photo from the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center Twitter

As the Stayman fire in Chelan, Wash. continues to burn, and firefighters work to get the wildfire under control, the fire signals the start of wildfire season in much of the state.

While the fire evacuation was recently downgraded from a level three to a level two evacuation, warning residents to just be prepared to evacuate rather then a full evacuation, it is still only 30% contained as of publishing.

800-acre wildfire rages 5 miles outside of Chelan

Ryan Rodruck, Public Information Officer for the Stayman fire said that the fire “did die down somewhat overnight, however, winds and terrain are still challenging and we are continuing to address containment lines on the fire.”

After an unusually wet spring and early summer season, many were expecting it to impact fire season in Washington state this year, but as the July heat waves increase, just like clockwork fire season begins says meteorologist Ted Buehner.

“We are running into some hot and dry conditions. The wildfire season had somewhat of a delayed start just because of that extra moisture that we saw in the spring. However, as those temperatures have begun to rise, those fuels are drying out and creating an elevated wildfire risk,” Rodruck said.

This is just the first fire expected to hit the state as a part of the yearly fire season that happens when the state hits it’s hottest temperatures, usually in July. We can expect more fires, says Buehner, and fire crews need to be ready.

“Crews overnight got a lot done [at the Stayman fire,] but I look at it as a dress rehearsal for what we will see for the rest of the month and on into September,” Buehner said. “Fire Season is here folk, delayed but not cancelled.”

As the weather does continue to get hotter, Rodruck is asking the public to be mindful of what they are doing, especially when enjoying the outdoors with camping or road trips.

“Please respect those campfire and outdoor burning restrictions,” Rodruck said. “If you are recreating in a trailer or boat, make sure that those chains aren’t dragging on the pavement. And please help us keep sparks off the landscape.”

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Chelan fire just ‘dress rehearsal’ for upcoming fire season, say experts