Three Small Fires Burning Deep in Olympic National Park Wilderness

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Date: July 29, 2016
Contact: Olympic Fire Information, 360-565-3125

Park staff confirmed yesterday that a third wildland fireis burning within Olympic National Park. The three-acre Cox Valley Fire was ignited by lightning on the night of July 21. After apparently smoldering undetected for nearly a week, the fire became active during yesterday's warm, sunny weather.

The Cox Valley Fire is the third known fire caused by the storm of July 21, which brought more than 400 lightning strikes to the Olympic Mountains, as well as heavy rain. It is located about two-and-a-half miles northeast of Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and is visible from both the Hurricane Ridge Road and many areas of the north Olympic Peninsula.

The Cox Valley Fire is burning in an area of heavy fuels including numerous dead snags, leading to extensive smoke production. Because of smoke and visibility impacts, the Obstruction Point Road has been closed. Parkand fire personnel will provide assistance and escort for any hikers whose car may have been parked along the road overnight

Fire fighters used a helicopter and large bucket yesterday to drop water onto the Cox Valley Fire and will continue that today. "We are using water drops to help confine this fire and limit its spread," said Olympic National Park Acting Superintendent Rachel Spector. "The terrain is simply too hazardous for ground firefighters."

The other two fires are the 25-acre Hayes Fire, located close to the geographic center of the park in the upper Elwha Valley and the 60-acre Godkin Fire, also burning in the Elwha Valley about 25 miles south of Port Angeles.

"Smoke from each of these fires will likely be noticeable over the coming days, which are predicted to be warm and sunny," said Spector. "No structures or facilities are threatened in any way, however."

In addition to helicopter bucket drops on the Cox Valley Fire, managers plan to use natural barriers such as rock outcrops, landslides,rivers and creeks to confine fire growth on all three fires. Human safety is always the top priority. Both aerial and ground-based observers are monitoring fire behavior and local area weather conditions through the day.

A six-person crew, comprised of Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest firefighters is camped in the upper Elwha Valley and is monitoring the Hayes and Godkin fires, along with local weather and fuel conditions. A three-person crew is staged near the Cox Valley Fire.

Additional fire personnel and other resources are being called in to assist with the overall effort.

For more information about the ongoing fires in Olympic NationalPark, people should email or call 360-565-3125.

Last updated: July 29, 2016

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