US 2 remains closed near Stevens Pass as Bolt Creek fire stands ‘fairly in place’

Sep 13, 2022, 9:32 AM | Updated: 1:21 pm
The #BoltCreekFire was first reported early this morning near Skykomish. DNR is responding with aircraft. US 2 is currently closed and evacuation orders are in place. (Washington State DNR)
(Washington State DNR)

A lack of winds and high humidity have stabilized the Bolt Creek fire west of Stevens Pass along U.S. Route 2, portions of which remain closed Tuesday morning.

The fire between Gold Bar and Skykomish is now more than 14 square miles — larger than Mercer Island.

Fire crews with the Northwest Incident Management Team 8 – a coalition of firefighters and staff largely from the U.S. Forest Service and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources – have nearly doubled the containment of the Bolt Creek fire Monday.

Currently, the containment of the Bolt Creek fire stands at an estimated 5% as of Tuesday morning, according to Jim Cahill, spokesperson for Team 8. Containment refers to the percentage of fire behind fire lines, as well as the professional judgment of a fire’s behavior

“The fire is fairly in place,” Cahill told MyNorthwest, explaining that the fire is not rushed by gusts of wind, making the management of the “moderate” fire more stable than over the windy weekend.

The worst offender of fire instability tends to be its movement along steep grades. Natural physics results in fast burns on hills, which has not been a problem with the Bolt Creek fire.

“This fire is staying on the ground,” Cahill added.

Humidity in the Skykomish/ Index area remains at around 80%. That, with a lack of sharp wind gusts, has made for favorable conditions to contain the fire.

Team 8 will deploy a range of crew resources Tuesday to aid fire-fighting efforts: interagency hotshot crews, strike teams performing structure preparation, heavy equipment to clear brush along fire lines east and west of the fire, and five to six helicopters.

Many residents continue to reject evacuation warnings as Bolt Creek Fire threatens homes

The fire’s stability has meant that the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department has not expanded evacuation zones near the Bolt Creek fire along Highway 2. Index remains under active evacuation, although some residents of the town tell KIRO Newsradio that they’re considering returning.

MyNorthwest has reached out to WSDOT for clarity on the reopening timeline for U.S. Route 2.

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US 2 remains closed near Stevens Pass as Bolt Creek fire stands ‘fairly in place’