Hayes Fire eats another 1,500 acres of Olympic National Park

Hayes Fire eats another 1,500 acres of Olympic National Park

Warm, dry weather has contributed to its explosive return.

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The Hayes Fire has exploded with the return of warm, dry weather.

The Hayes Fire in the Elwha Valley grew by some 1,522 acres Wednesday, from about 1,617 acres to 3,139 acres, fire managers reported Thursday.

The fire, which was started by lightning July 21 about 20 miles south of Port Angeles on a ridge line between the Lost and Hayes rivers, moved southeast toward Hayes Pass and Sentinel Peak on Wednesday.

The nearby Godkin Fire, 25 miles south of Port Angeles along the Elwha River, saw less activity and was estimated at 517 acres.

Water drops from a helicopter were used Wednesday afternoon to strengthen the confinement barrier on the Cox Valley Fire near Hurricane Ridge. It produced a small amount of visible smoke throughout Wednesday and was holding at 56 acres.

Very little fire activity was observed on the Ignar Creek Fire, about 22 miles northeast of Lake Quinault, and it remains under an acre.

Several trails have been closed because of wildfires.

They are Obstruction Point Road, Hayden Pass Trail from Dose Meadows to the Elwha River Trail and an 8-mile section of the Elwha River Trail from the Hayes River Ranger Station south to Chicago Camp.

Fire activity is expected to increase today because of low relative humidity, warm temperatures and increased winds, fire managers said.

Temperatures are expected to reach mid-80s with relative humidity between 24 percent and 30 percent and winds out of the north to northeast at 4 mph to 10 mph.

Smoke is likely to be transported to the south and southwest from predicted northeast winds.

Beginning Saturday, cooler temperatures with higher humidity are expected to bring decreased fire activity.

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

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

Although fires have had and are expected to exhibit active growth through today, the fires are still deep in remote wilderness.

The heavy amount of smoke is due to the extreme quantities of fuel and burnable materials.

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. Detailed information on air quality and health impacts is available at www.wasmoke.blogspot.com.

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Michael Dashiell / Olympic Peninsula News Group
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