Growth of Blue Lake, Sourdough blazes slows; highway open
Significant rain, cooler temperatures and consistent efforts by firefighters have kept fires in the North Cascades in check over the past week.
The Blue Lake Fire, burning just west of Washington Pass on both sides of the North Cascades Highway, had increased just 18 acres as of Monday (Sept. 4), to a total of 1,074 acres. The Sourdough Fire near Newhalem had added just 13 acres as of Saturday (Sept. 2), to a total of 6,234 acres, the latest information available.
Over the weekend, crews installed hose lays on the southwest flank of the Blue Lake Fire. On Monday, crews were looking for more places to limit fire spread on the north side of Highway 20. Fire behavior was moderate, with single-tree torching, smoldering and creeping, according to Inciweb, an interagency information-management system.
A map of the Blue Lake Fire from Sept. 4 shows a good part of the perimeter contained, including areas along the highway, Copper Creek, the Pacific Crest Trail, and much of the eastern flank.
In other areas, crews working on Blue Lake are mopping up and patrolling fire lines to make sure they’re secure. They’re also felling snags that could pose a risk to firefighters or the fire lines. Where possible, crews are beginning to back-haul equipment and repair fire lines, according to Inciweb.
Temperatures over the fire have been much cooler, with nights in the 40s and higher relative humidity. The Blue Lake Fire was 33% contained as of Monday.
There was minimal activity on the Sourdough Fire after last week’s rains, cooler temperatures and higher humidity. The Sourdough Fire was 25% contained as of Saturday, according to Inciweb.
The North Cascades Highway remains open with a pilot car between the Blue Lake trailhead and Rainy Pass. There is no stopping or parking between Washington Pass and Rainy Pass.