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Pioneer Fire on north shore of Lake Chelan deemed ‘disaster,’ continues to spread

Jun 18, 2024, 11:30 AM | Updated: 12:39 pm

lake chelan pioneer fire...

Pioneer Fire prompts evacuations just north of Chelan. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Fire officials in Washington are declaring the Pioneer Fire by Lake Chelan a “disaster.” The fire started June 9, but has grown approximately 3,500 acres in size since.

The official “disaster” declaration frees up resources for local departments to try and wrangle the wildfire.

Level 3 — leave immediately — evacuations have been expanded further south along the lake as the fire has grown from 300 acres to 3,800 acres in size. Investigators believe it started as a building fire, but is growing by spreading through nearby trees.

According to the Wenatchee World, it might continue to smolder all summer and could take until Halloween to be fully extinguished.

June 9: When the fire began

The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Level 3 evacuation order for the Rex Creek area due to a fire that has grown 300 acres in size on the north shore of Lake Chelan.

A Level 1 has additionally been issued for the north shore of Lake Chelan between Canoe Creek and Meadow Creek.

MyNorthwest meteorologist Ted Buehner: Could the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 happen again?

A Level 3 evacuation order means to leave immediately as danger is current or imminent, according to the Chelan County Fire District’s resource guide. A Level 1 order means for residents to simply be on “alert.”

State and local fire crews are on the scene attempting to contain the fire, being dubbed as the Pioneer Fire because its ignition point is believed to be near Pioneer Creek. It started around 12:30 p.m., according to the Washington Department of Natural Resources via NCWLIFE.

Hikers should not attempt to travel in the area due to fire danger, according to Chelan County deputies.

The firefighting crew is receiving the assistance of four helicopters as the location of the fire is only accessible via boat.

More local fires: One dead, three rescued from fire in North Seattle vacant apartment

The cause is undetermined and is currently under investigation. Additional air and ground resources are expected later today, according to NCWLIFE.

This is a developing story, check back for updates

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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