Chiwaukum Fire, Fire Information, July 16th through July 23rd, 2014.
As the Mills Canyon Fire was winding down the Team was assigned a couple of fires higher up in the Cascades. One was Kelly Mountain that eight smoke jumpers parachuted in and started fighting the fire.
The other fire was in the Chiwaukum Creek drainage. It was mostly located on Weyerhauser land high above Highway 2. The fire was located in cutover timber with a lot of down slash (dry fuel) on the ground. The fire blew up and quickly grew from 500 acres to well over six thousand acres that day. The column grew to 25,000 feet and was visible from Seattle. To keep things in perspective this was much shorter than the 50,000 plus column put up by the Table Mountain Fire in 2012.
I did not get any pictures of the column. I was too busy driving from the Nason Creek area down the Chumstick back to fire camp. What is did notice was how dangerous that part of the landscape was if the fire crossed Highway 2. In the Plain area and the Chumstick there were well over 800 homes under a level 3 evacuation. Level 3 is "get out now".
The few spots that jumped Highway 2 were all caught by firefighters. Otherwise we would have been off to the races. Many of those homes in the Chumstick drainage were not defensible. The loss of homes would have been devastating.