The Hayes Fire sends up plumes of smoke Saturday. (National Park Service)

The Hayes Fire sends up plumes of smoke Saturday. (National Park Service)

Largest of Olympic National Park fires now tops 700 acres

Officials expect moderated fire activity with lower termperatures following warm spell.

Olympic National Park fires that grew to more than 1,000 acres by Saturday night in hot, dry, windy weather are expected to stabilize amid forecast-driven hopes that Sunday’s cooler climes will continue through Tuesday.

The Park Service is expecting less active fires today and Tuesday, fire information officer Koshare Eagle said Sunday.

“During that time, we’ll be planning for when it will warm up again.”

The Hayes Fire 20 miles south of Port Angeles had grown from an estimated 350-450 acres to 718 acres by Saturday evening, while the Godkin Fire 25 miles south of Port Angeles grew from 137 acres to 181 acres, Eagle said.

The Cox Valley Fire, north of Obstruction Point Road and 12 miles south of Port Angeles, stayed at 56 acres thanks to helicopter water dousings, Eagle said.

Road remains closed

Obstruction Point Road remains closed for the foreseeable future.

The Ingnar Creek Fire 22 miles northeast of Lake Quinault also remained at a half acre.

“We’ve had some very significantly hot, dry conditions,” she said.

Eagle said there also was just 11 percent humidity at a weather station a few miles south of the Godkin fire.

“The incredibly high temperatures and increased dry areas combined with the wind pattern from the northeast were the most contributing factors to the fire growth,” she said.

According to the National Weather Service forecast for the eastern Olympics fire zone, fires nurtured by temperatures in the upper 80s Saturday will see dips to 55-65 degrees today and Tuesday.

Temperatures then will climb to the upper 70s Wednesday before hitting an expected 81 Thursday.

Saturday temperatures are expected in the low 70s.

Eagle said the fires are burning in remote areas of the park.

Fire officials say they were sparked by lightning July 21.

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected]

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