OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The number of firefighters working the East Beach Road Fire at Lake Crescent continues to be trimmed or “right-sized” as fire containment progresses, the Western Washington Type 3 Incident Management Team overseeing the operations said Wednesday.
The fire remained at 84 acres in size with 65 percent containment Wednesday.
Three hand crews with 84 total personnel bolstered by two engines and two fallers worked Wednesday to extinguish hot spots while cautiously and deliberately identifying snags and hazards within the fire footprint to mitigate potential damage from rolling debris, the management team said.
“This involves identifying trees with compromised root systems, partially burned limbs that could fall or trees that can come down,” said Jared Low, Incident Management Team public information officer.
“Our crews will assess the situation, and fall some trees if they determine it is safe. Or they might find areas where debris could come down, remove it, or at the least flag it or take actions to keep it from rolling.”
A hard closure of East Beach Road has been put in place due to the threat of hazard trees and rolling debris posing dangers to motorists traveling in that area.
Low said there haven’t been any close calls associated with burning debris for East Beach Road residents or for fire crews traveling on the road.
East Beach Road remains closed to visitor traffic at its intersection with U.S. Highway 101.
Log Cabin Resort is still operating and can be accessed via state Highway 112 to Joyce-Piedmont Road.
All day-use recreation sites along East Beach Road in Olympic National Park remain closed.
Local residents can access property up to 2 miles west of U.S. Highway 101 or from Log Cabin Resort up to the hard closure.
Ongoing smoke is anticipated to remain near Lake Crescent and surrounding areas as the fire continues to smolder within the forest understory.
“There are little pockets or islands in that burn zone that are creeping,” Low said. “A warm dry weather pattern could cause it to puff up a little bit, but we have three crews monitoring the fire.”
Low said the fire’s activity has reduced to the point where those crews are now working long days, with no need to keep an active watch on the fire at night.
“There are still three hand crews that will be starting their shift at 6 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m. to continue their efforts at minimizing fire behavior,” Low said.
“And the winds are similar to what we have faced since the fire started. There haven’t been any higher-than-usual winds.”
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or at [email protected].