Fire burns area near Orondo

Firefighters work to protect homes from the Mitchell Fire between Orondo and Badger Mountain which started July 5. (Provided photo/Douglas County Fire District 4 )


By Linda Barta
Empire Press Editor

Firefighters work near the highway on the Mitchell Fire which started July 5. (Provided photo/Douglas County Fire District 4 )

ORONDO — The Mitchell Fire, which broke out last week along Highway 2/97 southeast of Orondo, was declared 100 percent contained as of Saturday morning, fire spokesman Michael Krueger said in a news release.

According to Krueger on July 8, about 45 personnel and an engine would continue to monitor and patrol the area for interior hot spots for the next few days to make sure there was no spread of fire and the mop up process would begin.

Firefighters from Douglas County Fire District 4 in Orondo initially responded to the fire July 5 north of Estes Fruit Stand along the highway. The fire burned up the steep hillsides that border the Columbia River and the initial attack was focused on saving houses and outbuildings immediately threatened by the fire, according to Fire District 4 Chief Jim Oatey. Firefighting continued into that evening using direct attack hose lines, hand dug lines and aerial firefighting. Resources included 68 firefighters, 26 fire apparatus, four helicopters and several fixed-wing aircraft, Oatey said in a news release.

The extreme heat, heavy dry fuels and steep terrain complicated firefighting efforts. Several firefighters suffered from heat sickness and were treated by medics at the scene.

Second alarm resources responded from Chelan Fire Rescue (Chelan County Fire District 7), East Wenatchee (Douglas County Fire District 2), Chelan 1 (Chelan County Fire District 1), Waterville (Douglas County Fire District 1), Ballard Ambulance and Douglas County Sheriff/Emergency Management. The Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management fire crews also responded, said Oatey.

Management of the fire was handled by the Southeast Washington Type 3 Interagency Team 3, DNR. About 200 fire personnel worked the fire Thursday and Friday, said Krueger, and the Type 3 team was downshifted to a Type 4 on Saturday.

The fire reached about 623 acres with a Level 2 evacuation notice for all residences in the Badger Mountain area, east to Ski Hill Road and north from Road 3 S.W. to Pine Canyon. That notice was canceled Friday evening. No structures were lost.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.