Heatwave Complex Fires Continue in Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest

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Date: August 4, 2009
Contact: Carrie Templin, 360-565-3124

Of twelve fires discovered in Olympic National Park since June, five continue to actively burn. The Northern Rockies/Southwest Area Fire Management Team assumed command of the complex today, bringing a staff of fire specialists from around the west. “We appreciate the Fire Team coming to assist the park in the management of these fires. They bring a wealth of expertise that will assist in achieving the objectives we have identified for each fire,” said Park Superintendent Karen Gustin.

Representatives of Olympic National Park, the US Forest Service, the Northern Rockies Southwest Area Fire Management Team, and Brinnon Fire Department will host a public meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 5, at the Brinnon Community Center. They will provide information about the management and current status of the Constance Fire and Heatwave Complex.

Fires of the Heatwave Complex are located in inaccessible areas of Olympic National Park and the Olympic National Forest and pose no immediate threat to life, safety, and property. Given the remote locations of these fires, steep terrain conditions, and habitat management goals, fire managers are monitoring fire conditions and allowing fire to play a natural role in this environment. On the east side of Constance fire, firefighters and helicopters continue work to prevent fire spread towards the east.

For the most part, these low and moderate severity fires are burning in the forest understory. Natural fire in the landscape is an essential ecosystem process that is important in maintaining diverse habitats of the park. As these lightning-caused fires burn, they assist in maintaining the natural role of fire by releasing nutrients that stimulate new plant growth, and creating a mosaic of vegetation communities.

Due to high fire danger conditions, Superintendent Karen Gustin announced a ban on backcountry campfires in Olympic National Park effective Monday, August 3. Under the burn ban, all campfires are prohibited in the park with the exception of those in established fire pits in frontcountry campgrounds and below the high tide level on the coast. Ov

er the past weekend, rock-fall from steep slopes and continuing fire spread prompted park managers to close the main Dosewallips trail from the park boundary to the junction of the Gray Wolf Pass and Dose Meadows trails, the Constance Pass trail inside the park, and the trail from Dose Forks to Honeymoon Meadows. The Duckabush trail is closed between the park boundary and the junction with the LaCrosse trail. These closures may be in effect for several weeks or more.

Heatwave Complex Fires

The Constance fire reached 442 acres on Sunday, and has shown little growth since then. Five firefighters are stationed at the Dosewallips Ranger station to manage sprinkler systems that continuously wet the structures. Nine firefighters are working along the east side of the Constance fire to confine the fire spread.

The Buckinghorse fire is approximately 312 acres in the upper Elwha valley.

The 10 mile fire grew to 379 acres, moving in to the steep slopes above the Duckabush River on Sunday during red flag conditions.

The Solduc fire in the Seven Lakes basin is less than one acre.

Hikers should be aware they may encounter smoke in these areas, and that if fire activity increases, additional trail closures may be necessary. Updated information on trail closures will continue to be available through the park’s Wilderness Information Center (360-565-3100).

Smoke has drifted to the northwest most days, and settling into low elevations at night. Wind shifts may bring smoke into valley communities under some circumstances, but based on the observed fire behavior, current and forecasted weather, and fuel conditions, there are no immediate threats to any communities or developments in the area.

Fire management updates can also be tracked on the web at www.inciweb.org.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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