Bolt Creek Fire increases in size, but perimeter remains the same

Sep 13, 2022, 5:38 PM
bolt creek fire...
Photo from Northwest Interagency Coordination

The Bolt Creek Fire between Gold Bar and Skykomish has grown to more than 14 square miles — larger than Mercer Island — but despite the growth, fire officials are feeling more hopeful than they were a couple of days ago.

Hot, dry weather and strong winds from the east allowed the fire to quickly grow into a conflagration coming down the mountainside and threatening the towns of Index, Baring, Grotto, and Skykomish Saturday.

But this week’s spate of sprinkles and autumnal-like temperatures changes the game.

“The wind is settling down, it’s only at about five to six miles an hour coming out of the Northwest. Our relative humidities have come up — they’re near 87% — and we’ve got cooler temperatures,” said Rachel Lipsky, a public information officer with the Northwest Incident Management Team 8. “So all of those weather conditions, which are forecast to continue … really should help the effort.”

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

Lipsky added that there are never any guarantees with a fire — flames can quickly start to spread or change direction — but right now, things look promising.

“The fire could make large runs again if the winds were to increase above 25 miles an hour,” she said. “However, we don’t currently have winds in our forecast, and we are continuing to get increased moisture.”

While the Bolt Creek Fire has grown from 11 to 14 square miles in the last day, its outer edges have not changed. It is just that more bare areas inside of those edges have now caught fire.

“We’re getting interior burning, so a lot of the fuels that are inside of the fire perimeter are continuing to get consumed. It’s kind of less of a spotty and more of a ‘the spots are meeting one another’ kind of thing inside the fire perimeter,” Lipsky explained. “We aren’t seeing growth in the fire perimeter itself.”

This means the fire has not gotten any closer to homes.

“We have more acres, but it’s the same footprint,” Lipsky said.

The Bolt Creek Fire is currently 5% contained. While full containment may be a challenge because the north side of the fire is the Wild Sky Wilderness, the goal is to get the fire controlled on the other three edges so that homes to its south are protected and the fire is not spreading. Firefighters hope to keep the fire north of Highway 2, between Heybrook Lookout near Index on the west side, and Beckler Road near Skykomish on the east side.

“They really have kind of a nice three-sided box, at this point,” Lipsky said.

Firefighters are also putting out hoselays, clearing brush, and digging trenches in front of homes in Index, Baring, Grotto, and Skykomish.

These communities are all under a Level 3 Get Out Now evacuation. However, law enforcement officials say only about half of the residents in that zone have left.

One Baring resident who evacuated to Gold Bar told KIRO Newsradio on Monday that many of his neighbors had stayed behind because “they’re retired, they’ve moved up there to live a nice peaceful life, and that’s all they have — so to leave their property means to give up everything, and they just can’t face doing that.”

Lipsky urged those people to leave as soon as possible — not just for their own safety, but for that of firefighters.

“Any people who are creating traffic in the area or needing themselves to be protected when they’re in an evacuation area poses a lot of additional challenges to firefighters whose primary mission is to deal with the fire,” Lipsky said. “So, for folks who would like to support the firefighting effort, we are requesting that if they’re in a Go Now evacuation area, they please go.”

There is no word yet on when the stretch of Highway 2 between Gold Bar and Skykomish may reopen.

Local News

(Photo courtesy of Downtown Seattle Association)...
Nicole Jennings

Storefront Repair Fund addresses vandalism for Seattle businesses with new grants

Seattle small businesses can now apply for grants of up to $2,000 each to offset the costs of property crimes.
1 day ago
(Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)...
Ranji Sinha, KIRO 7 News

State, county election leaders already battling against misinformation campaigns ahead of midterms

They also said they suspect that misinformation campaign will impact the general election cycle for the midterms over the coming month.
1 day ago
lakewood 4...
Hanna Scott

Retrial underway for alleged Lakewood 4 getaway driver

Clemmons' death made accused getaway driver Darcus Allen the main target for any accountability for such a shocking attack on law enforcement.
1 day ago
Bill Kaczaraba

Kent considers ‘no camping’ ordinance as partial solution to homeless issues

Kent city council considers ordinance to ban camping within city limits.
1 day ago
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Delivery drivers take Amazon to court over inadequate rest breaks

Delivery drivers claimed they’re forced to urinate in bottles because Amazon failed to provide adequate rest breaks.
1 day ago
Bill Kaczaraba

First Lady Jill Biden to visit Seattle, Tacoma this week

The White House announced Tuesday that First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will be in Seattle and Tacoma late this week.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Bolt Creek Fire increases in size, but perimeter remains the same