Hot temperatures and dryness provided ideal conditions for the blaze to build Wednesday, and fire officials are expecting it to surround the village by Thursday morning.

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HOLDEN — The Wolverine fire is now burning around Holden Village on the south shore of Lake Chelan.

Hot temperatures and dry conditions provided ideal conditions for the blaze to build Wednesday, prompting increased activity on the fire’s north and south ends. Fire officials are expecting the 56-square-mile fire to progress and surround the village by Thursday morning.

Fire crews held fires with a fuel break around the community to “nurse” the main fire away from Holden, said fire spokesman Bill Queen.

As of Wednesday evening, fire-information officer Wayne Patterson said more than two-thirds of the village’s perimeter was surrounded by fire, and officials were anticipating its progression west around Holden.

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Wildfire growth
Twisp fire

The fire has now burned up the Tenmile Creek drainage to Hilgard Pass north of Holden, and fire officials are worried it could get into Devore Creek and make a run toward Stehekin at the head of Lake Chelan.

“We want to make sure it doesn’t sneak across the top and give us problems working toward Stehekin from a different direction,” Queen said.

Patterson said the Stehekin area experienced dense smoke Wednesday from the fire’s build, though the flames haven’t moved more toward the town.

Fire crews have already built lines and used burnouts to keep another flank of the fire from burning to Stehekin.

The western front of the fire is also now burning on both sides of Copper Creek directly south of Holden.

Hot Shot crews from Entiat and Silver City, N.M., who are staying in Holden Village, will continue using intentional burning to secure a line around the forested community. The fire is expected to completely surround the village, but firefighters feel confident they can protect structures and Holden Mine remediation equipment, Queen said.

On Tuesday, Holden Village co-executive director, Peg Carlson-Hoffman, posted on Facebook that firefighters and five Holden residents who remain in the village have been preparing for the last week for the arrival of the fire.

“The next several days are critical, and though we have been waiting for this time, there is no comfort in its arrival,” she wrote. “This fighting-fire-with-fire business has no guarantees.”

She added, “And so the complex saga of emotions continues today: confidence in the outcome, sorrow for the forest, worry for the twin fawns and their mother that are still hovering in the village, gratitude for our community, and admittedly, a-lot-bit scared underneath it all. The tremendous spirit of Holden, its people, the village, our friends, and our family sustains us in these hours.”