With the fires inside of Olympic National Park having grown larger in recent weeks, crews have been working to protect historic backcountry structures. Some have been covered in flame-retardant materials, while others have sprinkler systems in place and available to keep the building and area wet in case a fire comes near. (National Park Service)

With the fires inside of Olympic National Park having grown larger in recent weeks, crews have been working to protect historic backcountry structures. Some have been covered in flame-retardant materials, while others have sprinkler systems in place and available to keep the building and area wet in case a fire comes near. (National Park Service)

Firefighters protect structures quarter-mile from Olympic National Park fire

“We have people in place now, and structure protection in place ready to turn on,” a fire spokesperson said.

PORT ANGELES — Firefighters continue battling several blazes in Olympic National Park and have taken measures to protect historic structures about a quarter-mile from the Godkin Fire, said Celeste Prescott, Olympic National Park fires public information officer.

“The fire did grow a little bit in the direction” of the structures, Prescott said, adding that “it’s still got a little ways to go.”

“We have people in place now, and structure protection in place ready to turn on. It is sprinkler systems. They will just pump water out of the local water source and go onto the structures,” she said.

”They will keep that all wet and keep the embers from falling and igniting anything.”

A nearby bridge is wrapped in tinfoil to protect it from the fire, Prescott added.

On Saturday, the Godkin Fire 25 miles south of Port Angeles along the Elwha River spanned 521 acres, the Hayes fire 20 miles south of Port Angeles spanned 2,310 acres, the Cox Valley Fire 12 miles south of Port Angeles spanned 57 acres and the Ignar Creek Fire 22 miles northeast of Lake Quinault had increased from less than an acre to 30 acres.

All four fires were started by lightning July 21.

While the Godkin and Hayes fires were much less active Friday and Saturday compared to earlier in the week due to an increase in humidity, the Ignar Creek Fire saw increased fire activity.

The Cox Valley Fire produced a small amount of visible smoke throughout the day and was holding at 57 acres.

The Godkin and Hayes fires both continued to produce moderate smoke throughout the day, according to a news release. The smoke stagnated Thursday within the Elwha Valley, Lake Sutherland and Lake Crescent areas, lifting late in the afternoon Friday.

Fire activity was expected to decrease during the day Saturday with an influx of a marine layer bringing higher relative humidity, cooler temperatures and decreased winds, with smoke swept in an easterly direction.

Continuing smoke impacts are due to the extreme quantities of fuel and burnable materials, Preston said.

Smoke continues to settle into surrounding valleys at night and lifts during the day.

People can take precautions to protect themselves by staying indoors when smoke is present, according to the release. Detailed information on air quality and health impacts is available at www.wasmoke.blogspot.com.

A temporary flight restriction is in effect over the fire areas due to increased use of helicopters for water drops and supply delivery, fire managers said.

Drone launching in national parks is illegal, and if drones are observed near firefighting operations, firefighting aircraft are not allowed to fly.

For more, visit http://tinyurl.com/ONP-ONF-FireInfo.

________

Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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