Warm, dry weather raises concern of fire spread in Olympic National Park

With warm weather forecast, fires could surge, fire officials say.

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — With warm, dry weather forecast the next couple of weeks, fire officials are closely watching four smoking wilderness fire sites in Olympic National Park.

With high temperatures forecast to be higher than normal through Aug. 25, fires that have stayed quiescent since the end of July could surge, fire officials said.

Todd Rankin, fire management officer for Olympic National Park, said Sunday he expected fire activity to pick up by the end of this week.

“With these conditions, the vegetation will dry out from the recent rain and increased fire activity is anticipated,” fire managers said Friday in a news release.

Smoke from the fires might become visible from viewpoints in the region.

On Thursday, an Olympic National Park fire manager flew over four known wilderness fire sites to monitor their condition after a week of cloud-covered skies.

All four fires are believed to have been started by lightning July 21. They were initially reported between July 25 and July 29.

The manager found no smoke from the Cox Valley Fire or the Ignar Creek Fire.

Only two sources of smoke were visible from the Godkin Fire.

The last one, the Hayes Fire, had four isolated sources of smoke.

Fire managers plan to continue to monitor the locations and activity of these fires, none of which now poses threats to people or structures.

They added that fire planners have identified specific locations around each fire where strategy changes might be considered if the fire approaches those areas.

The Hayes Fire is the largest and has consumed approximately 150 acres. The Hayes site is 20 miles south of Port Angeles on a ridge line between Lost River and the Hayes River.

The Godkin Fire has consumed an estimated 90 acres. It is located about 25 miles south of Port Angeles along the Elwha River.

The Cox Valley Fire, which was visible from Hurricane Ridge, was estimated to be about 10 acres. Cox Valley is located about 12 miles south of Port Angeles, near P.J. Lake and north of Obstruction Point Ridge.

Ignar Creek is the smallest fire and has consumed about only a half-acre. The site is about 22 miles northeast of Lake Quinault.

The four fires have consumed a total of over 250 acres so far.

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