Wildland Fire Information

A thick white plume of smoke rises from behind a forested mountain ridge.
Smoke from the Norse Peak fire viewed from Shriner Peak Lookout on August 12, 2017, not long after the fire's start.

Caroline Meleedy Photo

Fire has shaped Mount Rainier's landscape for thousands of years, and is important for the survival of many plants and animals. Naturally ignited wildland fires are beneficial to the park ecosystem, removing dead wood accumulation and recycling nutrients back into the soil. Most fires at Mount Rainier are suppressed but the park Fire Management Plan allows select fires to be managed to benefit the park's ecosystem.

The park's primary fire management goal is to return fire as a natural ecosystem process. Equally important are protecting life and property. The safety of firefighters and the public is always the highest priority during any firefighting activity.

In-depth information on fire management in the park is available in the Mount Rainier National Park Fire Management Plan.


Active Wildland Fires

Last Updated: August 10, 2018.

Spooky Tree Fire
On the Cowlitz Divide, just off the Wonderland Trail, about 1/4 mile north of the WT/Cowlitz Divide trail junction. Lightning start on 7/28, approx. 40' X 20'. Suppression actions taken July 29 and 30, fire is in patrol status. Update 8/9: No smoke seen from this fire since last suppression efforts, but not yet declared out.

Fan Lake Fire
Discovered July 30th, probably same ignition date as Spooky Tree. Near a ridge top at 5200 feet, west of the Muddy Fork of the Cowlitz. Very little smoke production, is in patrol status. No actions taken on fire. Update 8/9: Even with red flag conditions the last few days, this fire still seems to be poking around, only putting up faint/occasional smoke. Planning for an aerial assessment. The resources required to safely put people on the ground at this fire location are not currently available.

Cowlitz Peak Fire
Called in by hikers on the Wonderland Trail at mid-day 8/9, looks to be 1/2 acre fire on the north aspect of Cowlitz Peak. Unknown start date, may have been from storm on 7/28. Exact location and size-up to be completed by same overflight as for the Fan Lake fire on 8/10.

Wrong Creek Fire (to north of park)
Estimated 68 acres with 43 personnel assigned, the fire is located in dense forest on steep terrain in the West Fork of the White River drainage. Because of limited access to the fire and the limited availability of firefighting resources, firefighters were only able to make a limited attack on the fire. Due to the number of large regional and national fires, local firefighting resources are not sufficient to continue direct attack on the fire. Local fire managers have outlined a long range fire suppression strategy to address future fire behavior. The park has been included in these longer-term plans. Update 8/9: Management of this fire was handed back over to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest on Sunday, currently staffed by an ICT4 and one or two FOBS (field observers). Report from 8/8 was fire had grown to 90 acres, with most growth on the southeast flank towards the West Fork of the White River. Fire behavior reported as limited with backing, occasional single-tree torching.

Past Wildland Fires

2017 Norse Peak Fire
Thirteen fires were ignited by lightning on August 10th and 11th, 2017, in the vicinity of the William O. Douglas and Norse Peak Wilderness Areas on the Naches Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The fires burned in steep rocky terrain, with difficult access. Two of the fires reached significant size: the Norse Peak Fire (north of State Route 410 (SR410) near Union Creek) and the American Fire (between SR410 and Bumping Lake).
Norse Peak Fire Incident Information
Mount Rainier News Release, September 21, 2017

Haze from Wildfire Smoke
A green meadow surrounded by forested ridgeline, blue skies, and view of Mount Rainier. A brown meadow surrounded by forested ridgeline, with brown-grey haze obscuring view of the mountain.
The Longmire meadow along the Trail of the Shadows on July 13, 2018. NPS Photo
The Longmire meadow obscured by haze on August 14, 2018. NPS Photo

Even distant fires can impact the park. Slide the arrows either direction to see how haze from wildfire smoke affects visibility and air quality.

Last updated: August 14, 2018

Contact the Park

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55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304


(360) 569-2211

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