North Cascades Fire Update August 22 2009

Fire Location
The Rhode Fire (0.5 acres) was reported on 7-30-09 several days after an electrical storm passed through the park. Fire starts from lightning may take up to two weeks to produce visible smoke.


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News Release Date: August 24, 2009

Contact: Kerry Olson, 360 854-7302

Overview: Twelve fires ranging in size from a single tree to 400 acres have been burning in the North Cascades National Park Complex since late June. All twelve fires were started by lightning. The total acreage for all fires combined is 696 acres. Five of these fires are being managed with suppression tactics to protect the public, and infrastructure in the area. The other seven fires are being managed for resource benefits. Park staff members are educating visitors about the benefits of fire in natural ecosystems.

Current Situation: Yesterday, an aerial flight was made to observe park fires as well as scout new fire starts due to lighting activity the previous night; only the Panther Fire in Panther Creek was producing smoke. No new starts from lightning activity were found. However, new fire starts from lightning may take up to two weeks to produce visible smoke so fire managers will remain vigilant.

Today ground patrols will be made to watch for changes in fire activity. Helicopters are available to assist firefighters by making water drops if requested.

Conditions and Fuels: Fires are burning in fire adapted ecosystems. Fires are in subalpine and mixed conifer forests. Weather and Fire Behavior: Mostly sunny skies with temperatures between the mid 70s and mid 80s. Winds will be 6-19 mph. Potential for fire growth is low.

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.

HIGHWAY 20: Highway 20 is open. Park visitor facilities have not been affected.

Smoke: The Sable Fire in the Wanatchee National Forest, west of Lake Chelan, produced a column of smoke yesterday. Smoke from this fire as well as fires elsewhere in Washington State and Canada are causing smoke and haze within the park and surrounding areas.

Lightning: After a lightning storm, park managers are on the lookout by ground and air for new fire starts. They also use satellite technology that indentifies locations of lightning strikes. To view a website with lighting strike locations visit:

For lightning safety information, visit: 

Last updated: August 11, 2017

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Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284


(360) 854-7200

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