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Wildfire burning near Leavenworth

Wednesday, May 24, 2017by  Jon Osterberg

raging forest fire sends up billowing smokeA blaze burning three miles north of Leavenworth proves that May is not too early for wildfires.

The Spromberg Canyon fire ignited Tuesday near an old lumber yard. Fanned by stiff winds gusting to 50 mph, flames jumped Chumstick Highway and spread across 40 acres by late Tuesday afternoon, prompting a Level-3 evacuation of more than 180 homes.

Level 3 alerts are not advisory – they direct residents to leave the area immediately.

Air tankers and firefighters from the state Department of Natural Resources have joined local responders to battle the blaze. Fire District 3 video shows timber engulfed in flames that threaten nearby power poles.

Fire officials say that most homes lost to wildfire typically ignite from airborne embers, not direct flames or radiant heat. That's why the Leavenworth fire causes concern. Even though wildlands remain moist and green with spring growth, airborne embers can travel for miles and land in dry pockets, sparking spot fires.

firefighter silhouetted against flames at nightForest land stretches for miles north and east of Spromberg Canyon. As seen time and time again over the years, the Ardenvoir and Chelan wildlands contain enough fuel to sustain large, lingering wildfires.

Land owners can help protect their own homes and property – and also prevent embers from kindling fire on neighbors' land – by reducing fire fuel with Firewise safeguards. Check out our Don't Get Burned! tips.

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