PORT ANGELES — A new team of fire experts has arrived at Olympic National Park to assess the impact of the various fires burning within the park since late August.
Starting today, the U.S. Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response team will investigate damages to cultural and natural resources and evaluate for potential future risks such as debris flows. The team arrived on Monday.
Rainy weather during the past week reduced fire activity, and fires are expected to remain within their current footprint, Olympic National Park (ONP) said in a press release.
“As threats to structures diminished, fire crews removed protective equipment and shifted locations,” ONP said. “No structural damage has been recorded at this time.”
The National Weather Service is forecasting mostly sunny conditions for the coming week, but high humidity should keep the fire areas from drying out.
There are seven fires currently burning within the park, all of which were started by lightning strikes in an Aug. 28 thunderstorm.
The largest of the fires, the Delabarre Fire, was at 4,165 acres as of Saturday. Cloud cover during the week prevented crews from conducting reconnaissance flights with infrared mapping equipment, but a flight was able to take place Saturday.
The fires are burning in wilderness areas and pose little to no risk to people or property, and fire managers are largely allowing them to burn naturally.
Most areas of the park remain open to the public, but several trails have been closed due to fire activity.
Trails currently closed until further notice are:
• Elwha River Trail from Dodger Point Trail junction to Low Divide
• Hayden Pass Trail
• Dosewallips River Trail from Dose Meadows to Hayden Pass
• North Fork Quinault Trail from Elip Creek trail junction to Low Divide
• Skyline Trail from Elip Creek Trail junction to Low Divide
• Martin Park Trail
• Obstruction Point Road and Trailhead
Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.