Activity on two fires in the North Cascades has been minimal in the past week, allowing the North Cascades National Park and the U.S. Forest Service to reopen some trails and facilities.
The Blue Lake Fire, burning just west of Washington Pass on both sides of highway, was 80% contained at 1,074 acres as of Tuesday (Sept. 12), according to Inciweb, an interagency information-management system. The fire did not increase in size in the past week.
The Blue Lake Fire has been creeping and smoldering, with occasional single-tree torching. Some fire activity may continue to be visible, particularly creeping and smoking in steeper, rocky and inaccessible areas, according to Inciweb.
Indirect control lines are complete, as is the direct fire line along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Fire crews are mopping up along control lines, felling snags, and removing equipment.
Most trails near Washington and Rainy passes are still closed, including Blue Lake, Maple Pass, and the PCT from the national park boundary north to the junction with the North Cascades Highway. The Washington Pass overlook is also closed. The Twisp Pass trail in the Twisp River drainage has reopened.
The Sourdough Fire near Diablo Lake was 25% contained at 6,280 acres, 46 acres larger than last week, as of Monday (Sept. 11).
The fire has been slowed by cooler temperatures, higher humidity and slight moisture, but the forecast is for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation over the next week, according to the deputy chief of visitor services for the national park. The warmer, drier weather could bring minimal to moderate fire behavior, with smoke visible from the interior of the fire perimeter, she said.
Diablo Lake, Thunder Point and Hidden Cove boat-in camps; the Ross Lake Resort; the Happy Panther Trail and the Ross Dam Trail — from the trailhead to Ross Lake Resort — are now open. Ross Lake is open for day use only.
A dozen walk-in sites at Colonial Creek South Campground are open, but the rest of the campground and Colonial Creek North are still closed. Trails on the west side of Ross Lake are closed.
The North Cascades Highway is open. There is still a reduced-speed zone between Rainy Pass and the Blue Lake trailhead because of fire crews in the area. The area remains open to through-travel only, with no parking on road shoulders.