Schneider Springs Fire likely to grow overnight with high winds, low humidity

NACHES, Wash. — The Schneider Springs Fire is expected to increase Monday night as weather experts project higher than normal winds, high temperatures and low humidity.

“Our number one priority right now is to keep the fire from moving towards homes and property and to contain the fire,” said Jacob Welsh, a public information officer for the Schneider Springs Fire.

Firefighters have established a perimeter on the south side of the blaze from Bethel Ridge — on Washington State Department of Natural Resources land — to the William O. Douglas Wilderness boundary.

“We’re working to prevent the fire spreading south towards Highway 12 and to the east towards the Highway 410 corridor,” Welsh said.

As of Monday evening, the wildfire had burned through 80,841 acres northwest of Naches and had been 8% contained. Fire Behavior Analyst Barry Kleckler said when analyzing fire behavior, it’s important to look at fuels, weather and topography.

“Our fuels are very dry and there’s been an exceptional drought throughout Eastern Washington,” Kleckler said. “And we’re up at a high enough elevation that there are a lot of heavy timber fuels dead and downed logs and trees.”

RELATED: Schneider Springs Fire evacuations reduced as fire tops 80k acres

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning due to warm temperatures, very low humidities and stronger winds across Southern Washington, leading to an increased risk of fire danger.

“What we pretty much have been going on is full of dry cold fronts coming through this afternoon especially, so the winds are going to really start to pick up on the ridge tops of the mountains out of the west northwest, so expecting gusts up at 30 miles per hour,” Incident Meteorologist Donnie Dumont said.

Kleckler said firefighters are attacking around the edges of the fire and establishing control lines.

“That’s always our biggest safety concern when we’re trying to predict movement of the fire, is which of our firefighters it’s going to be moving towards and making sure they have enough warning to get out of the way,” Kleckler said.

While firefighting resources have been spread thin across the state and region, Welsh said more help has arrived in the past week.

“I think we went from 550 to now we’re around 800 firefighting personnel, which is really helping us out,” Welsh said.

From the north side to the south side of Bumping River Road, evacuation orders have been reduced to Level 2 (Get Set). Warnings at Highway 410 from Bumping River Rd to U.S. Route 12; and from U.S. 12 at Highway 410 to Tieton Reservoir Road, have been reduced to Level 1 (Get Ready).

Please be advised that a temporary closure order is in effect for all land in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest at this time. A live virtual community information meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on the Schneider Springs Facebook page.

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