Expert team taking over firefighting on growing blaze in Naches Ranger District.

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A team skilled in managing large wildfires is taking over a blaze feeding on heavy timber and brush just west of the U.S. Highway 12 and Highway 410 juncture.

Composed of approximately 30 firefighters, the team includes experts in logistics, planning and air operation, said Naches Ranger District spokeswoman Heather Appelhof.

The blaze had blackened nearly 600 acres by Sunday night in the Meeks Table area in the Naches Ranger District, she said.

Wildfire coverage

Wildfire growth
Twisp fire

Late Sunday, Ranger District officials began asking campers to leave the area, spanning from the forest’s eastern boundary to Bethel Ridge, including the Rattlesnake area, as a safety precaution so firefighters can work.

District officials asked people to alert friends or family who are camping in those areas, according to a Ranger District news release.

Fire crews and equipment will be in the areas of Forest Road 1605 and 1611, and those roads need to be clear for safe access, the release said.

“Our first concern is for firefighter and public safety,” District Ranger Kelly Lawrence said in a news release. “That is why we are asking all campers to pack up and quickly get out of the affected area.”

Sunday evening, the Ranger District was planning to officially close Forest Road 1500 and 1600 from the eastern boundary to Bethel Ridge.

Areas included in the closure are Rattlesnake and areas west of Devil’s Table, east of Meeks Table, and Clover Springs south of Forest Road 1600.

The fire was discovered about 3:15 p.m. Saturday, and was reported to be about 15 acres at that time. But the blaze quickly spread due to hot and dry conditions that prompted a red-flag warning, according to the news release.

Suppression efforts are expected to be difficult given the current conditions, and an incident-management team has been assembled to manage the blaze, the release said.

But crews from the U.S. Forest Service and the state Department of Natural Resources on Sunday held the fire to the roughly 600 acres it had swelled to since being touched off, Appelhof said.

Helicopters dropped water and retardant on the blaze, while engines and hand crews worked on the ground, she said.

Mild temperatures in the mid-70s, overcast skies and less wind than expected helped firefighters, she said.

“We’re hoping that we can continue that process through the rest of the week,” Appelhof said. “If we were experiencing more extreme weather, it would have been much harder to hold.”