‘When it’s your time, it’s your time:’ Gold Bar braces for flight as Bolt Creek fire rages
The Bolt Creek fire is burning 8,000 acres of forest as of Monday morning. Snohomish County has issued evacuation notices — “Level 3: Go Now” — for Index, Wash. and warned residents along Highway 2 — which remains closed to non-emergency traffic — as far west as Gold Bar to prepare to evacuate.
The Bolt Creek fire has closed the Index and Sultan School Districts for Monday.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has closed U.S. Route 2 between Index and Skykomish through Monday at least. Images of the highway posted to WSDOT’s Twitter account show the Bolt Creek fire burning just feet away from the road.
⚠️ US 2 between Index and Skykomish will remain closed today due to the #BoltCreekFire. These photos were taken this morning from inside the closure. This is why the road is shut down. pic.twitter.com/oWlRGFJgHH
— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) September 11, 2022
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department reports that only half of the residents of Index asked to leave have evacuated as of Sunday. Roughly 10 miles to the west, residents of Gold Bar have had varying reactions to the possibility of the fire’s spread and their evacuation.
“I actually haven’t packed a vehicle. I put some stuff in a secure location, but I wasn’t going to leave the house —not at all, no desire. I’m not going anywhere. It’s my home. It’s my castle. It’s my ship that goes. I’m not looking to die, but when it’s your time, it’s your time,” Gary Bean, Gold Bar resident nine miles from the fire, told KIRO Newsradio.
Others are more resolved to evacuate immediately should Bolt Creek head further west.
“I’m ready to leave. I have a suitcase packed with my medicine ready. Everything’s ready to go — just a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and a picture of my husband and me. That’s it,” another Gold Bar resident said.
The fast-moving fire has already forced hundreds to evacuate. It threatens homes near Skykomish, Baring, Grotto, and Index. The fire could damage power lines, railroads, bridges, and roads.
Evacuation shelters are available in Sultan at the Crosswater and Mountainview Churches.
Red Cross Northwest has announced it opened a shelter at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe.
Donations of bedding for evacuated livestock will be accepted Monday and Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds Dairy Barn.
Snohomish County representatives say food and grain are not needed at this time.