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9/26/2012 2:46:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Fire grows to 6,000 acres
Kacie Thrift
Staff Writer



The Poison Canyon Fire has grown up to 6,000 acres in the past week and continues to burn through the Mission Creek area.

Sharon Khyl, from the Forest Service Management Team, said the fire was approximately 6,000 acres on Sept. 20 and was 30 percent contained. Crews successfully completed a burn out along the dozer line on the night of Sept. 19.

"Firefighters constructed the line between fire and properties in Camas Meadows on the west side of the fire. Crews continued to improve and mop up around the fire perimeter over the weekend," Khyl said.

Last Thursday, structure protection was in place for Trip Canyon and Mission Creek area. Two weeks ago those areas were at a level three evacuation but were changed last Thursday morning to a level two evacuation status. Khyl said every house that was at a level three is now at a level two in the Cashmere area.

Level two notices issued for homes on Sky Meadows Road, Brisky Canyon Road, Corrigan Road, Folks Lane, and Camas Meadows remain in effect.

"As you know we also asked for Highway 97 to be closed yesterday [Sept. 19] because we have an unmade fire approaching Highway 97. It's not big or anything yet but we need to cautious," Khyl said.

Many firefighters have been assigned to fight the Poison Canyon Fire. Khyl said there are probably 4,000 people working on the whole forest and when you start to break that down on a smaller basis it's hard to know how many men and women are on each fire at a time. That being said, on a daily basis she believed several hundred workers were on the Poison Canyon Fire.

At this time, employees from the Forest Service said their main focus is the safety of people and structures.

"We continue to construct secure lines because we really don't have any ideas yet what is going to happen. We are still in this inversion and if that inversion leaves we can expect more fire movement." Khyl said.

Because of the smoke level in the area firefighters were still having a hard time fighting from the air because the had troubles seeing through all the smoke.

Over the weekend, firefighters were able to gain more control over the fire as the smoke lifted some on Saturday.

As of Sunday, the fire was approximately 5,991 acres and 60 percent contained. Fire management said on Sunday firefighters were able to start actively mopping up control lines and planned to begin rehab on Monday.

On Monday, the evacuation levels up Mission Creek and Trip Canyon were changed to a level one and all residents were able to move back into their homes. Khyl said this means the firefighters are not very concerned about extreme fire danger. Firefighters have also started rehabilitating areas where structure protection trenches were dug. They worked Monday and Tuesday to flatten the land out.

The fire now seems less of a danger, according to fire management.

Kacie Thrift may be reached at 548-5286 or reporter@cashmerevalleyrecord.com.





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