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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Park staff learned late yesterday that an approximately 250-acre wildland fire is burning in the wilderness of the Queets Valley. The fire is located about 12 miles upvalley from the Queets River trailhead, far from the park boundary. The fire's cause is currently unknown.
A fire monitor flew over the area yesterday and observed the fire near the confluence of Paradise Creek and the Queets River. The fire is currently burning slowly along the river but is bounded by extremely rugged and steep terrain. The Queets River Trail is closed at Bob Creek until further notice to protect public and employee safety.
"We will continue to monitor this fire and are calling in resources to help us assess it and develop a safe and appropriate response," said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. "Human safety is our top priority and any response to a wilderness fire will address firefighter safety as our first concern."
A three-person Olympic National Park crew is hiking to the area today to make the first on-the-ground assessment of the fire, fuel moisture and other conditions.
Tomorrow, a ten-person wildland fire crew from northern California will arrive. This crew is specifically trained in evaluating conditions and risks associated with wilderness fires. Information gathered by the ground crews will be used to develop a long-term strategy for managing the fire. Factors including human safety, current and forecast weather conditions, fire location, terrain, and unique natural and cultural resources are all considered in crafting a response plan.
The short term weather forecast is calling for cooler temperatures and possible showers this Friday. The extended forecast is for warmer and dryer conditions into the summer.
For more information about fire management and fire history in Olympic National Park, people should visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/olym/learn/management/fire-management-1.htm
An update and more information about the Paradise Fire in Olympic National Park will be released by 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.