WENATCHEE - Part of the Chelan Wildlife Area in Chelan County is closed until further notice due to a potentially rapid-spreading wildfire in the area.
The area's 8,500-acre Swakane unit, owned and managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), is closed to everyone except firefighters and others authorized by the agency.
The Swakane is located about two miles north of Wenatchee and extends north about five miles. It also includes more than a section of land at the head of Nahahum and Ollala canyons about five miles north of Cashmere.
Adjacent lands owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service have also been closed.
Earlier this week the Fischer fire was just two miles west of the Swakane, according to WDFW Chelan Wildlife Area Manager Marc Hallet. With anticipated easterly winds and continued dry conditions, the fire could move several miles in one day.
The Fischer fire, which now involves more than 8,500 acres and is considered no more than 30 percent contained, started Aug. 8 about four miles southeast of Leavenworth on private land.
WDFW's Swakane closure is meant to minimize the potential for other fires starting as well as provide unimpaired access for fire-fighting personnel and ensure public safety.
For updated information about the Fischer fire or other fires burning in Washington, see http://www.dnr.wa.gov/fire/index.html or http://www.or.blm.gov/nwcc.