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Contact: Cat Hawkins Hoffman , 360-565-3060
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 front country campgrounds.
Of the 12 fires recently ignited by lightning in the park, 6 remain active. Continued warm and dry weather, air quality and smoke concerns, and a shortage of firefighters throughout the west prompted fire managers to undertake suppression or confinement actions on 4 of the active fires. This includes the 10-Mile fire in the Duckabush drainage, the Constance fire in the Dosewallips drainage, and the Solduc and Morganroth fires in Seven Lakes Basin.
At 350 acres, the Constance fire in the Dosewallips drainage is the largest of those in the “Heatwave Complex” of fires. On Saturday, 10 firefighters were assigned to the Constance fire, and up to three helicopters dropped water on the fire’s east and south flanks. Due to rock-fall from steep slopes and the potential for fire spread, park managers extended trail closures in this area to include 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. "We appreciate the public's understanding and support of these actions to ensure visitor safety," Superintendent Gustin said.
The Buckinghorse (approximately 100 acres) and Knife (0.5 acres) fires in the upper Elwha continue to be managed to allow fire to have its natural role in the forest ecosystem. Park officials advise that although the fires in Seven Lakes Basin and the upper Elwha are not affecting the trail system at this time, hikers should be aware they may encounter smoke in these areas, and that if fire activity increases, limited 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).
Fire management updates can also be tracked on the web at www.inciweb.org.