I had heard that the fire had been burning in the Trout Lake valley. This is the Okanogan Complex fire. Now at over 400 square miles, and still growing, it is the biggest fire in the state's history. The last I was at the lake was almost a week ago, and the fire was still four miles away at Fish Lake.
I went up today to see what I could find out. I went in from the north again and made it all the way to the lake. That was a good sign, and I was feeling hopeful. Then I went around a bend and found myself at the end of the road for now.
The fire had reached all the way to the south end of the lake. They had stopped it at the entrance to the south end campground, but it had burned its way around the west side of the lake.
Now it was burning on the mountain to the east of the lake.
I asked these firefighters how things were looking, and they said, "Not good." The fire is essentially burning out of control now. They had been hoping for support, they said, including helicopters, but it didn't come. Helicopters have been grounded in mountainous terrain because of the thick smoke, held down by an upper air inversion all over this region. So now they're watching the fire, but there's not much that can be done to stop it until conditions change.
My float tube is still in the truck, and I had come ready to do some fishing if I could. I decided it would be best to wait until another day.
On the way out I stopped at the channel access I used last week, and then at the far north end. The eagle is still there, though I fear their nest may have been consumed in the fire on the west side. Ducks are still active. And I saw two rises.
Hang in there, lake. I'll be back as soon as I can.