OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Firefighting crews have stopped the growth of the East Beach Road Fire, which remained at 84 acres Monday.
The fire remained within lines built by crews since it first ignited Wednesday and reportedly was 30 percent contained.
Fire Information Officer Nick Cronquist of the Western Washington Type 3 Incident Management Team said lines have been built around 90 percent of the fire.
“Things went really well today,” Cronquist said in a phone interview Monday. “They did a lot of good work.”
Firefighters will continue to widen and improve the fire lines to increase containment, he said. A line is considered fully contained when fire officials are convinced a fire cannot jump it.
On Monday, 208 firefighters were assigned to the fire, down from a peak of 225 personnel. Seven hand crews, six engines, a tender and four fallers were battling the human-caused blaze.
Helicopters made water drops over the fire for several days, but no choppers were assigned to the fire Monday, even though they are available locally, according to a press release from the incident management team.
Crews also brought portable tanks of water to the top of the ridge so water can be sprayed on hot spots from above East Beach Road. A hose system from the tanks will remain in place for the duration of the fire, according to the press release.
Weather conditions were favorable Monday with light winds and a cool, damp, marine layer that moved into the area. When the fire grew last week, it was hot and dry with heavier breezes.
Cronquist said firefighters even saw a little bit of rain Monday.
Dry and sunny weather is forecast today and Wednesday with winds reaching a maximum of 14 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Smoke increased overnight Sunday to cause an air quality index of 27. A rating of 50 is considered moderate. People with health conditions are advised to avoid outdoor activities if the air quality gets above 50.
Cronquist said an inversion layer overnight can drop the smoke down and cause more to generate.
To check the air quality index in the Port Angeles area, got to www.tinyurl.com/paairquality.
Cronquist said there could continue to be smoke for weeks as the fire continues to smolder within the fire lines. The terrain is extremely steep, and parts of the fire are in areas too hazardous for personnel to fight, he said.
“There could be smoke the rest of the summer,” Cronquist said.
The fire is believed to be caused by humans, although it’s still under investigation by the National Park Service.
Agencies fighting the fire include Olympic National Park, the state Department of Natural Resources Olympic Region, Olympic Interagency Fire Management and Clallam County Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Services.
East Beach Road around Lake Crescent is closed from U.S. Highway 101 to Log Cabin Resort. Access to East Beach Road between Highway 101 and Log Cabin Resort is for local residents only.
Log Cabin Resort is still operating, but anyone trying to gain access will need to take state Highway 112 to Piedmont Road.
Day use recreation sites along East Beach Road in Olympic National Park are closed to the public.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached by email at [email protected].