**Updated at 6:15 p.m., 8/1/2018: The road closure due to the Gilbert and Crescent Fires has been moved back to the Buttermilk intersection (click link to view a map of the area). Campers and hikers at locations past the intersection are being asked to leave the area. The Buttermilk access to Black Pine Lake and other areas accessed by turning left onto Buttermilk Creek Road are not affected by the closure at this time. **
By Ann McCreary
A wildfire on the north slope of Crescent Mountain, beyond the end of Twisp River Road, grew from a few acres to about 100 acres overnight Tuesday, pushed by evening downslope winds, according to fire officials.
The fire on Crescent Mountain is expected to merge with another wildfire burning about a mile and a half away near a former mining camp known as Gilbert, about a mile and a half away, said Mike Reichling, a public information officer with a Type 3 Management Team brought in from Arizona to manage the fires.
Twisp River Road is closed beyond the South Creek Campground. Several hiking trails accessed by Twisp River Road are also closed. The concern posed by the fires is the potential for them to move into the Twisp River drainage, where many homes are located. Afternoon and evening downslope winds remain in the forecast, he Reichling said.
No evacuations are ordered, but Reichling said people “everywhere” should be in a “ready” to go state, with a “go bag” and plans in place in case they need to leave. Fire managers are coordinating with Okanogan County Emergency Management and law enforcement on evacuation planning.
Reichling said four helicopters, five fire engines and two hand crews are assigned to the fires. The helicopters have been dropping water and retardant on the fires. He said fixed-wing aircraft are on order in case they are needed.
The two fires are in rugged, mountainous terrain about 25 miles away from the town of Twisp. They were started by lightning on Saturday. Four smokejumpers from the North Cascades Smokejumper Base were dropped on each fire to conduct initial attack until other resources arrived, Reichling said.
Trail closures in the area include North Creek Trail #440; Cedar Creek Trail #476 from Abernathy Pass to North Creek #413; Twisp River Trail to Copper Pass #426; Twisp River Trail to Twisp Pass #432; and Crescent Mine Trail #422.
Other local fires
Elsewhere on the Methow Valley Ranger District, the Cutthroat Fire is burning on about 25 acres in heavy timber in an inaccessible area approximately 13 miles west of Mazama.
Smokejumpers, a 20-person crew, a large helicopter dropping water, and an air tanker dropping retardant have been utilized in firefighting efforts on this fire.
Due to public safety concerns and the behavior of the fire, six trails have been closed to public access. In addition to the trail closures, Lone Fir Campground, Washington Pass Overlook, and Road #400, which accesses Cutthroat Lake Trailhead, are also closed.
Closed trails include Cutthroat Lake Trail #483 and trailhead; Pacific Crest Trail #2000 from Rainy Pass to the junction of West Fork Methow Trail #480; Blue Lake Trail #314; Rainy Lake Trail #310; Maple Pass Trail; Bridge Creek Trailhead, where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses Hwy 20.