Crews working the Schneider Springs Fire are preparing for increased fire activity.
Strong valley and ridgetop winds were expected Wednesday — with gusts up to 30 mph — that could cause a moderate increase in fire activity and push flames into unburned areas near Edgar Rock, American Ridge and Goose Prairie, according to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service.
Fire crews were expected to continue setting backfires northwest of Cliffdell, dependent on weather conditions, while others are working on repairing lines in areas where the fire has been contained, the release said.
On Tuesday, firefighters and aircraft focused on areas where the fire was burning near communities in the Cliffdell, Goose Prairie and Bumping Lake areas, working to keep the fire from moving west.
Since Aug. 3, the lightning- sparked fire 18 miles northwest of Naches has burned 102,742 acres, an area almost six times the size of the city of Yakima. The fire was 25% contained as of Wednesday morning, with no structures lost.
A total of 595 people were assigned to the fire.
A Level 2 evacuation notice, meaning residents should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, is in effect along the Bumping River Road corridor and State Route 410 from Salmon Cove to Pinecliff. A Level 1 notice, meaning people should be aware of the fire and start making preparations to leave, is in effect along State Route 410 from Pinecliff to the junction with U.S. Highway 12, and from there along U.S. Highway 12 to Tieton Reservoir Road.
Firefighters are expecting a fall-like storm system to come through on Friday, putting a tenth of an inch of rain on the fire area.
As of midday Wednesday, Yakima County’s air was considered unhealthy for sensitive groups due to the wildfire smoke, according to the state Department of Ecology.