A Type 3 firefighting helicopter departs for a mission near the Paradise Fire perimeter. Olympic National Park

Peninsula’s fifth wildfire of season ignites west of Quilcene in Olympic National Park

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — As the fire season continues heating up, a fifth wildfire has been discovered in the Olympic Mountains.

The new burn — named the Hayes Fire — was discovered Saturday near the Hayden Pass Trail west of Quilcene by a reconnaissance flight.

The Hayes Fire is burning an unknown amount of terrain inside the Olympic National Park, and managers were expected to make a reconnaissance visit to the site Sunday, said Tacy Skinner, spokeswoman for the Paradise Fire management team.

“It’s in very difficult terrain. They are looking to see if it is safe to put in a team,” Skinner said.

The new fire joined the still-burning Paradise, Gold and Cabin Creek fires, as well as the now-extinguished Zion Fire. All were started by lighting strikes.

Some personnel from the 2,440-acre Paradise Fire have been loaned out to stop the new fires before they become a threat.

A massive outbreak of large fires burning in the Pacific Northwest has depleted availability of firefighters for new fires, and several from the Paradise Fire were temporarily assigned to the smaller Hayes Fire, Skinner said.

“There’s just not enough of them to go around,” she said.

Skinner said that while there is a shortage of firefighters, the number of firefighters assigned to the Paradise Fire has been maintained at 44 as of Sunday.

The Paradise Fire, which has been burning slowly through the rainforest in the Queets River valley southwest of Forks since May, showed very little fire or smoke Sunday morning.

A set of sprinklers set up on the western side of the fire, along with helicopter water drops on spot fires, has slowed the fire’s growth.

National Forest fires

Two fires in Olympic National Forest that were sparked by Wednesday’s lightning storm were confined but not contained, said Donna Nemeth, Forest Service spokeswoman.

■   The Gold Fire, about 6 miles northwest of Quilcene and 10 miles south of Blyn, remained at about 10 acres but was not considered to be contained, Nemeth said.

A fire line was complete around the fire, but there were additional steps to take to ensure sparks from the fire do not cross into areas outside of the fire boundary, she said.

The Sequoia­ Kings Wildfire Module, which was assigned to the fire, was expected to be transferred Sunday to the Paradise Fire for an eight- to nine-day operation.

The Little Quilcene Trail is closed from its trailhead to the Tubal Cain Trailhead, as is the Mount Townsend Trail from the top of Mount Townsend to the Little Quilcene Trail.

Also closed is Forest Service Road 2820/2920-100, all until further notice.

■   The Cabin Creek Fire, 3 miles northeast of Lena Lake and the Hamma Hamma campgrounds, remained at 8 acres Sunday and was being managed in a monitor and confine strategy, similar to the Paradise Fire, Nemeth said.

The fire is burning in an “extremely difficult area,” she said.

The Zion Fire on Mount Zion, which began Wednesday about 9 miles northwest of Quilcene, was contained Thursday and was extinguished by Saturday.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at [email protected]

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