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Wildfire Season Arrives: Thunder Creek Closures, Fire Safety Tips

Posted by Erika Haugen-Goodman at Jun 11, 2015 10:30 AM |

Learn which trails are currently closed and how you can help prevent additional fires from starting.

Wildfire season has arrived early this year, due in part to a mild winter with little snow. Firefighters are currently battling the second small blaze of 2015 in the Thunder Creek area of North Cascades National Park.

Learn which trails are currently closed and how you can help prevent fires from starting.

Trail and backcountry camp closures in North Cascades National Park

    • The Thunder Creek Trail from the Skagit Queen to Neve camps is currently closed due to a wildfire caused by lightning on May 30. As of June 10, the trail from Thunder Creek over Fourth of July Pass into Panther Creek remains open, but check with the park for updates.
    • A portion of the Fisher Creek Trail is also closed from Cosho Camp to the Thunder Creek Trail junction.

Thunder Creek Fire closure 6/8/15
Closure area, as of June 8. Credit NPS


      Tip: If you ever have a question about hiking in a region with an active wildfire, contact or visit a ranger station.

      Current campfire restrictions across the state

      Due to hot temperatures and low moisture, campfire restrictions are in place in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Chelan County.

      • In restricted areas, campfires can only be built in designated campgrounds with fire rings.
      • Briquette fires are not allowed in the restricted area.
      • Pressurized liquid gas stoves are allowed.
      • Restrictions will be in place until conditions improve in the area.

      Campfires: a safety refresher

      If you are camping in an area without a burn ban, make sure your campfire is built and put out responsibly. The advice below is adapted from guidelines from the Gifford Pinchot and Mt. Hood National Forests Fire Staff:

      Enjoying a fire

      • Make sure a campfire is allowed where you are camping. Check to see if there is a burn ban in your county.
      • Never leave a campfire unattended.
      • Keep tents and other combustible materials away from the fire.

      Putting it out

      Fires can often creep along the ground, slowly burning roots and dead leaves. Days later, the smoldering fire could break out into a real wildfire.

      • Drown the campfire with water and stir charred material.
      • When leaving, make sure your fire is dead out. Feel all sticks, charred remains, coals and ashes to make sure they are cool to the touch. Make sure no roots are smoldering. Look for smoke rising from the ground as an indicator of below ground fire.
      • If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.

      Backpacking and fire safety

        If you are backpacking, brush up on your backcountry fire safety and best practices.

        Stoves Above This Point
        Campfire restrictions are in place at higher elevations.

          A spot of good news: Cinder the bear goes home

          If you recall the massive Carlton Complex fire last year, you might remember hearing about Cinder, the black bear cub found with extreme burns on her paws. After nearly a year of rehabilitation, Washington Fish and Wildlife officials returned Cinder to the wild earlier this month. Check out a short clip of her release here.

          Though Cinder's story has a happy ending, she remains a sobering reminder of the impact of wildfires. While fires can have an important place in forest ecology, don't be the source of a human-caused fire; please practice safe techniques when enjoying a campfire this season!