Sawmill Creek fire update | Department of Natural Resources

Plateau residents wakes to smoke; air quality moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Sawmill Creek fire. Courtesy state Department of Natural Resources

Residents of the Plateau awoke Saturday morning to smokey air as firefighters continued to battle the Sawmill Creek Fire in the Cascades.

Crews of firefighters are staged at the Expo Center in Enumclaw.

The Department of Natural Resources have banned all outdoor burning on DNR land.

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency forecast discussion

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency reported Saturday, Sept. 16, to expect air quality to be “MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in the central and western Sound as smoke from the Jolly Mountain and Norse Peak fires pushed west overnight and will linger throughout the day. Levels could reach UNHEALTHY in the Cascade foothills and closer to the fires. Medically sensitive groups should take precautions to limit exposure. Shifting winds tonight and rain tomorrow should bring us back to GOOD air quality on Sunday.”

• The following is the latest release of information concerning the fire from the state Department of Natural Resources.

The Sawmill Creek Fire is currently 1098 acres with 0 percent containment. No structures have been damaged or destroyed. Firefighters remained on the line today, making their way towards the fires edge, building direct containment lines.

Divisions are focusing on The Dalles, Crystal Mountain communities, and Alta Crystal Resort areas; they have completed control lines and have placed sprinkler systems to assist in structure defense. Acreage growth yesterday was due to the fire backing down slopes to the Forest 76 Road, where it stopped. The fire continues to threaten the watershed for the city of Tacoma, industrial timberland, DNR protected lands and the United States Forest Service lands.

State Route 410 remains closed at SR 123, east of Cayuse Pass; the closure includes Bumping River Road and its associated trails.

Today’s weather brings another day of relatively dry conditions, and winds from the southeast will push smoke towards Enumclaw. Strong low pressure will then move inland Sunday and Monday bringing widespread rain to the area with half an inch to an inch of rain possible by Monday evening.

The Sawmill Creek Fire spans 1,098 acres. That is the size of 57 Seattle Seahawks Complexes, or 1,450 football fields. The fire is located within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests, home to vine maple, sword fern, Douglas fir, western red cedar, alder, and western hemlock, wild berries including blackberries, Christmas trees, cones, ferns, firewood, and fungi (including mushrooms). At its lowest elevation, the fire is 1,300 feet, rising to 4,584.

• Incident Personnel 378; crews 12; helicopters 2; engines 16; dozers 3; injuries 0; ambulance 1; watertender; structures damaged or destroyed 0

The Norse Fire has been divided into two zones, the north zone and the south zone. The division line is the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail will provide a natural division for the Norse Peak Fire. It is also the division between the Okanogan-Wenatchee and the Mt. Baker- Snoqualmie National Forests. The Sawmill Creek Fire and the Norse Peak Fire north and west of the trail will be managed by the Southern California Incident Management Team 3. The California Central Coast Team is managing the South Zone of the Norse Creek Fire. This zoning to provide for more effective management, safety and coordination of the fires using two management teams.

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