Retardants cooling down wildfire hot spots

DAYTON – Helicopters continued to drop retardant to cool hot spots Monday at a wildfire in southeastern Washington, while cooler temperatures slowed fire activity in other parts of the state.

The Columbia complex has burned nearly 171 square miles of wheat fields, shrubs and forest southeast of Dayton. Parts of the Umatilla National Forest, including the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Area, remained closed. The fire was 80 percent contained at 109,196 acres.

About 980 firefighters were assigned to the fire.

Elsewhere, lower temperatures and precipitation were aiding firefighters’ efforts to rein in the region’s wildfires.

In the central Cascade Range, the Flick Creek fire was 50 percent contained at 7,879 acres on the east shore of Lake Chelan, while the Polallie fire near Cle Elum was 57 percent contained at 962 acres.

The state’s largest blaze, the Tripod complex, continued to burn northwest of Winthrop, primarily in the Okanogan and Wenatchee national forests in north-central Washington. The fire has blackened nearly 273 square miles, or 174,540 acres. More than 975 firefighters worked to contain the fire, which was 70 percent contained Monday.

The Mazama fire, about 8 miles southwest of Mazama, was 75 percent contained at 1,646 acres.

Crews also continued to monitor three wildfires burning in the Pasayten and Glacier Peaks wilderness areas.

Meanwhile, forest officials lifted the ban on campfires in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, including North Cascades National Park, and in the Okanogan and Wenatchee national forests. The fire restrictions were put in place earlier this summer because of extreme fire danger.

Forest officials emphasized that a fire hazard still exists, but campfires are now allowed in campgrounds that remain open, and in undeveloped recreation sites where campfires are normally allowed.

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