The Pioneer Fire has now been burning on the northern shores of Lake Chelan for one month and could see a continued increase in activity and spread in the days and weeks ahead.

During a 48 hour period between Saturday and Monday mornings, the blaze swelled by nearly 30 percent (over 2,000 acres) to 9,055 acres in total size.

Fire information spokesperson, Heather Appelhof, says this weekend's sudden growth could be the first of several very active stretches for the blaze.

"We are heading further into July and as the summer progresses, we are anticipating hotter and drier conditions with the potential for the fire to continue to grow."

The fire, which is located about ten miles southeast of Stehekin, was first reported on June 8 and is currently listed as 14-percent contained.

Washington State News logo
Get our free mobile app

Appelhof says a new incident management team (Northwest Complex 12) has taken over the fire and is shifting to a more aggressive strategy for putting it out.

"We are now under a full-suppression strategy. Initially, when the fire first started, it was on very steep and rugged terrain and the initial direct attack efforts were very challenging and those efforts were not successful."

In addition to five helicopters, there are now two fixed-wing aircraft making repeated drops of water and retardant on the blaze to go along with 12 hand crews using 14 tenders and three engines.

Firefighters are also working to build containment lines around the fire in an effort to keep it from spreading.

The fire is not currently threatening the town of Stehekin but has prompted Level 3 evacuation notices for homes and cabins from Moore Point to Safety Harbor; Level 2 notices from Flick Creek to Moore Point and Safety Harbor to Camas Creek; and Level 1 notices from Hazard Creek to Flick Creek and Camas Creek to Mitchell Creek.

A total of 604 personnel from multiple agencies are currently assigned to the blaze, which is not scheduled to be fully contained until late October.