Thursday, June 13, 2024

Wildfire prompts rescue operations on Lake Chelan's north shore

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CHELAN — The Chelan County Sheriff's Office assisted in the response to a wildfire near Pioneer Creek on the north shore of Lake Chelan on June 8, according to Sheriff Mike Morrison. The fire, located approximately 30 miles up the lake from Chelan, is only accessible by boat.

The Central Washington Interagency Communication Center (CWICC) reported that the fire had crossed the Lakeshore trail, endangering several hikers along the route between Prince Creek and Stehekin. An unconfirmed report also suggested that a citizen had been injured near the fire, but helicopter crews were unable to gather further information.

Chelan County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol responded using Marine 1, a boat capable of transporting up to 15 passengers. The boat crew checked docks in the area and contacted hikers at Moore Point, successfully rescuing seven hikers who required transport down the lake. During the operation, a third-party report indicated that a 16-year-old hiker had become separated from their family somewhere along the trail.

Global Rescue, a satellite emergency activation service, later reported that a group of two hikers and the missing 16-year-old were near the Meadow Creek area and in need of medical assistance. Marine 1 was directed to the Meadow Creek dock, where they located the missing teenager and reunited them with their family at Prince Creek. The remaining hikers were transported to Field's Point.

On June 9, CCSO Marine Patrol continued to assist with the Pioneer Fire, using Marine 1 to make fire evacuation notifications and contact hikers on the trail. Level 1 notices were posted at all docks between Canoe Creek and Meadow Creek, while Rex Creek was placed under a Level 3 notice. Deputies made contact with individuals at Canoe Creek who did not require assistance and hikers at Moore Point who planned to continue their hike to Stehekin. The Lakeshore trail has been closed from Prince Creek to Moore Point.

The National Park Service provided communication assistance to the CCSO during these efforts. 

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