‘All fires are unpredictable’ as Sourdough blaze only 5% contained

Aug 11, 2023, 7:07 AM | Updated: 7:30 am

sourdough fire SR 20...

A fire in Whatcom County has expanded significantly, growing from 534 acres to 2,933 acres Friday, before subsiding to 1,397 acres Sunday night. (Photo from WSDOT)

(Photo from WSDOT)

As of Tuesday, the Sourdough fire burning near Diablo Lake in the North Cascades has torched 1809 acres.

More than 300 firefighters are working to battle the blaze, which broke out late last month and is only 5% contained.

Sourdough Fire in Whatcom County burns 1,397 acres, shuts down SR 20

“All fires are unpredictable, and we cannot anticipate the path it will take in the future,” Project Delivery and Generation Officer Andrew Strong told KIRO 7, “Rest assured, City Light and the Northwest Team 10 fire crews are doing their best to protect and preserve critical infrastructure and equipment from damage.”

More than a dozen Seattle City Light employees and their families have been evacuated from a property near the Ross Lake Dam.

Due to the fire, the Diablo Dam Access Road and the road into the town of Diablo were closed on Friday, and State Route 20, also called North Cascades Highway, was closed between milepost 120 to milepost 156, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

On Wednesday morning, WSDOT announced that SR 20 was reopened between Newhalem and Rainy Pass. They warn that since the fire remains active, the highway could be closed again at any time.

Thursday afternoon, SR 20 was closed again, with no indication on when it would be reopened.

Spokesperson Margie Ferrucci says the fire threatens Diablo Dam, which provides 30-40% of Seattle’s electricity.

Crews spent the weekend protecting Diablo Dam, by removing brush near it and digging trenches around it. Most City Light workers who live and work there have been evacuated.

Hikers will also not able to access Sourdough Mountain, Diablo Lake, Big Beaver, and Little Beaver.

Crews can’t reach the fire on the ground, but three helicopters are attacking the flames from the air.

Fire crews have also “wrapped” the historic Sourdough Fire Lookout and important structures at Ross Lake. Wrapping is when firefighters cover a building in a fire resistant aluminum barrier.

The Colonial Creek campground and Ross Lake Resort both remain evacuated.

Real time alerts on road conditions and closure statuses can be found here.

KIRO 7 contributed to this report

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‘All fires are unpredictable’ as Sourdough blaze only 5% contained