North Cascades Fire Update August 17
Contact: Kerry Olson, 360 854-7302
Overview: Twelve timber fires are burning within the North Cascades National Park. The total acreage for active fires is approximately 646 acres. Fires are grouped into complexes by geographic location for management purposes. The Panther Complex is a group of 5 fires near the Panther Creek Drainage/Ruby Mt. Fires range in size from 0.1 to 353 acres. The Crapper Complex, near Newhalem Creek, has 4 fires between 0.1 and 2 acres. The Moon Complex in the Stephen Mather Wilderness has 3 fires, two are 0.5 acres and the third is 66 acres. The park’s fire management team is using a variety of strategies to manage the fires. Fire management objectives provide for firefighter and public safety, protection for property and infrastructure, and multiple natural resources.
Current Situation: Yesterday, the park’s Fire Effects Crew that had been on the Brush Creek Fire reported that the Brush Creek Fire in the Stephen Mather Wilderness remains active with sporadic flame lengths up to 2 feet. This fire is slowly backing downslope, burning duff up to three feet deep down to mineral soil. The lowest flank of the fire is currently about 700 feet above the Brush Creek Trail. Today, firefighters will ground patrol the Crapper Fire (2 acres) and Rhode Fire (0.5 acres) in the Crapper Complex to observe the level of fire activity. Later in the week, after a few days of hot, dry weather, aircraft will remap fire perimeters to measure spread of fire perimeters.
Conditions and Fuels: Fires are burning in fire adapted ecosystems. Fires are in alpine and subalpine mixed conifer foreststhat are located in steep, inaccessible terrain. Aircraft are used to support firefighters with suppression tactics as needed when dangerous terrain or other difficulties make it unsafe for firefighters.
Weather and Fire Behavior: Skies will be mostly sunny today with temperatures reaching 86-89 degrees. Temperatures are expected to climb to near 100 degrees in the Stehekin area by Wednesday. Light winds are expected. Fire behavior and smoke intensity may increase as a result of this hotter, drier weather.
Resources Assigned to the Fire: Personnel: Park staff supported by single resources
Aircraft: 2 helicopters, one Type 3 (light) and one Type 2 (medium)
TRAIL CLOSURES: The Panther Creek Trail is closed from the trailhead on Highway 20 to Fourth of July Pass until further notice.
Fire plays an important role in shaping forested landscapes. Fires allowed to burn for resource benefit rejuvenate plant growth and create a variety of habitats for wildlife.