Firefighters focus on protecting homes from the Schneider Springs Fire

NACHES, Wash. — Firefighters are focused on protecting homes along the northern perimeter of the Schneider Springs Fire, which grew more than 2,000 acres in less than 24 hours.

Fire activity has increased north of Bumping River Road moving toward American Ridge, where firefighters noticed several spot fires Wednesday — one nearing 750 acres in size.

“This fire has gone and creeped up into the wilderness and continues to grow,” said Joe Tone, Operations Section Chief for the Schneider Springs Fire. “We put a lot of effort into it yesterday with both aircraft and ground resources and the fire just simply outpaced us with the extreme dry fuels in that area.”

Tone said firefighters want to ensure the fire doesn’t move further east toward the intersection of Highway 410 and Bumping River Road. Crews are working on burn operations to remove fuels and create a containment line to prevent the fire to get closer to the Naches River corridor.

The Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management expanded evacuation orders Wednesday to include a Level 3 “Go Now” notice for both sides of the Highway 10 corridor between Little Naches and the Rock Creek area.

Emergency management officials also added a Level 2 “Be Set” evacuation order for the Highway 410 corridor between Little Naches and Wash Creek. A Level 1 “Be Ready” order remains in place along U.S. Highway 12, all the way west to Tieton Reservoir Road.

After a month of burning through forested areas northwest of Naches, the Schneider Springs Fire is at 99,398 acres in size and is at 17% containment.

A change in the weather pattern will bring cooler temperatures starting Friday and continuing through the weekend, bringing some relief to firefighters.  While rain is forecast for the Mid-Columbia tomorrow morning, the rain won’t come far enough west to reach the Schneider Springs Fire.

However, humidity levels should increase Friday afternoon and overnight going into the weekend. Any smoke that is cleared out Friday will likely come back in with light northwest winds Saturday.

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