Evacuation Orders Downgraded as Weather Aids Schneider Springs Fire Battle


Rain has moderated activity of the Schneider Springs Fire burning northwest of Naches, officials said Sunday, allowing more people to return home.

As of 3 p.m., all Level 3 "go now" evacuation orders dropped to Level 2 "get set" notices, including Bumping River and Lost Creek roads, according to Yakima Valley Emergency Management.

The recent weather brought high winds along with rain, but cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity were expected to keep the fire's activity minimal on Sunday.

Firefighting priorities were to establish an effective fire line north of Lost Creek using Forest Roads 1706 and 1709, according to a late Sunday morning update. Firefighters and air resources continue focusing on protecting structures, securing fire lines and slowing the fire's spread.

Work to lay hoses and reduce fuels around structures also was planned Sunday around the Cliffdell and Lost Creek communities, along with establishing a fuel break to the west of the Goose Prairie area, the update said.

The fire was at 101,633 acres with 17% containment as of Sunday. No structures have been lost. The fire was caused by lightning on Aug. 3 and is burning 18 miles northwest of Naches.

A total of 671 people were assigned to the fire Sunday. A new incident team took command Saturday.

On Saturday, firefighters focused on structure protection around Bumping Lake and Goose Prairie and monitored the fire on American Ridge as it backed down to the American River, the Sunday update said. On the northeast and east, structure protection continued along the State Route 410 corridor and crews assessed possibilities for constructing more direct fire line south and west of Forest roads 1706 and 1709.

Also on Saturday, crews continued to slow fire spread around Edgar Rock and completed firing operations along the trail to Burnt Mountain, with more mop-up and repair work throughout the southern half of the fire.

U.S. Forest Service land in the fire area between State Route 410 and U.S. Highway 12 are closed. The forest closure was increased late last week north of American Ridge to 410, with the closure going up Forest Road 1900 (Little Naches) to 1902 and west to the 953/951 system. It includes a portion of the Norse Peak Wilderness. Those roads are still open.

Forest Service land south of U.S. 12 including Rimrock and Clear lakes is open, along with recreation on the Tieton River.