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Fire crews prep for warmer weather

Sat., Sept. 16, 2006

STEHEKIN, Wash. – Authorities lifted the evacuation warning Friday for residents living near two Washington wildfires, but firefighters continued to monitor blazes and tackle hot spots as they prepared for warmer temperatures to return.

Residents living near the Polallie fire, about 15 miles northwest of Cle Elum in the central Cascade Range, and those in the north-central Washington town of Mazama had been warned they might have to evacuate if fires in their area grew. Authorities lifted those warnings Friday.

But fire managers were not yet prepared to ease evacuations at the remote community of Stehekin, which has been threatened by the Flick Creek fire since a campfire sparked it July 26.

“We’re still not able to let our guard down completely,” said Brett Ricker, information officer assigned to the fire from the Alaska Division of Forestry. “It’s supposed to warm back up over the weekend.”

Stehekin is reachable only by boat, float plane or trail. Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation earlier this week for the boat landing, post office and several other buildings on the dead-end road leading into the Stehekin Valley. Another 100 residents remained on notice they may have to leave if the fire grows dramatically.

The fire has blackened 7,871 acres on the east shore of Lake Chelan.


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