Schneider Springs Fire generates heavy smoke over Yakima highways

NILE, Wash. — Wildfires thrive under hot and dry weather conditions, which is why crews are working tirelessly to improve containment on the Schneider Springs Fire burning natural land in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. While people and structures are not being actively threatened, a blanket of smoke is damaging air quality and visibility in nearby communities.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Schneider Springs Fire has grown to 94,206 acres in size. It’s now 14% contained with a total of 758 firefighting resources assigned to assist with containment efforts. That includes 16 hand crews, 37 fire engines, nine aerial resources, seven dozers, and 26 assorted items of heavy machinery on the scene.

WSP Trooper Chris Thorson took to social media on Tuesday morning, warning community members that smokey conditions northwest of Yakima on S.R. 12 and S.R. 410 are impacting visibility. If you plan on traveling through the area, be sure to drive with extra caution.

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Schneider Springs Fire

Public Information Map for the Schneider Springs Fire on Sept. 7, 2021.

Level 2 Evacuations (Get Set) are in effect from Bumping River Road from north to south. Level 1 Evacuations (Get Ready) are in effect at Highway 410 from Bumping River Road to U.S. Route 12, and from U.S. 12 at Highway 410 west to Tieton Reservoir Road.

Natural land in the national forest’s Naches Ranger district is CLOSED, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The Washington DNR-managed land in the area is also temporarily CLOSED.

On September 6, crews improved control lines at Bethel Ridge while others from the southern section of the fire traveled north to prevent fire growth at the Lost Creek/Gold Creek region; closer to the Highway 410 corridor.

Fire activity resumed within the William O. Douglas Wilderness area. Spot fires near the southern perimeter were successfully extinguished while a drone operation helped detect spot fires in densely covered areas of the forest

High temperatures on September 7 have crews bracing for the possibility of increased fire activity. Additional resources have been deployed to Bumping River Road in order to prevent the fire’s spread along the northwestern edge of the Schneider Springs Fire.

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