By Natalie Johnson
Methow Valley News 

Fires are 'season-ending event' for Methow Valley tourism

Community meeting draws large crowd


Last updated 7/23/2021 at 12:56pm

Natalie Johnson

Members of the public had a chance to ask questions of firefighting personnel at Wednesday night's community fire meeting at Mack Lloyd Park in Winthrop.

As wind and extreme dry weather continues to drive the growth of two Methow Valley fires, the best hope for the return of normal life and clear skies is fall rain, or ideally, an early snow.

"We're all working toward the goal of not allowing these fires to come into Winthrop," said Mayor Sally Ranzau at a community fire meeting Wednesday evening (July 21) at Mack Lloyd Park. "Unfortunately, this is a season-ending event for tourism. But we are resilient and a strong community. Hopefully an early-September snow storm will get us back on track."

A few hours later, Sun Mountain Lodge and the surrounding area was put on a level 3 evacuation as the Cedar Creek Fire began to crest Virginia Ridge. The lodge announced Thursday morning (July 22) that all staff and guests had been evacuated and that the lodge would be closed until further notice.

Recreation closures

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has closed all of its lands in eastern Washington for overnight camping due to fire danger. Those areas are now day-use only. No fires, shooting or smoking outside cars is allowed. Motor vehicles are also not allowed more than 10 feet off a road.

"We don't need more people coming to the Methow to recreate at this time," said WDFW police officer Troy McCormick.

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