Lightning-sparked fires in Olympics stay small

Another small fire in the Olympic Mountains was detected Wednesday near Sugarloaf Mountain in the Bogachiel River Valley, bringing the number of fires sparked by Sunday’s lightning storm to 11.

All are in relatively remote areas and are small. The newest one is about 0.1 acre, said Penny Wagner, Olympic National Park spokesperson. The others were estimated to range from 0.1 to 2.4 acres in size on Tuesday, and fire activity had been minimal since then, Wagner said.

Five fires are in the Olympic National Forest while six are in the national park.

Most are in the central and northwest portion of the mountains.

Fires at Pyramid Peak and Aurora Ridge were expected to be wrapped up late Wednesday, she said, with others having large snags which are burning and posing safety concerns.

Other fires started by lightning are the Bogachiel and Cold Creek fires, the farthest west; the Lena Fire, the farthest east; and the Mount Meany, Bull, Sitkum, Sore Thumb and EBR fires.

The inter-agency effort involves personnel from the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, state Department of Natural Resources, Clallam County and private entities, Wagner said.

The response to each fire is prioritized based on threat to such values as closer proximity to state land, as is the case with the Bogachiel and Cold Creek fires.

Rain is expected in the forecast which will help with fire suppression, but is not expected to extinguish the remaining fires, Wagner said.

No trail closures are in place now.

East Beach Road continues to be closed to all visitor traffic, including bicycles and pedestrians, at its intersection with U.S. Highway 101, however, because of a human-caused blaze that started July 29.

Log Cabin Resort is still operating and can be accessed via state Highway 112 to Joyce-Piedmont Road.

On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide emergency proclamation to ensure immediate response to multiple wildfires in central and eastern Washington, as well as the Olympic Peninsula.

The proclamation authorizes the activation of the Washington National Guard statewide in response to a request from the DNR to help protect homes, public facilities and utilities, businesses, agriculture and natural resources.

The order remains in effect until 11:59 a.m. Sept. 30.

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