Wildfire Season: Mount Si Closed, Fire Danger High
From Mount Si to Klickitat County, the North Cascades to Wentachee, the first of the season's wildfires have already started burning in Washington. Burn bans, poor air quality, hazy views and lightning storms in the forecast all have the potential to impact hikers and campers in the coming weeks. Stay informed about current wildfire threats and help prevent additional wildfires from starting.
Updated 7/31/13 at 1:15 pm
From Mount Si to Klickitat County, the North Cascades to Wentachee, the first of the season's wildfires have already started burning in Washington.
Burn bans, poor air quality, hazy views and lightning storms in the forecast all have the potential to impact hikers and campers in the coming weeks. Learn how you can stay informed about current wildfire threats and help prevent additional wildfires from starting.
Fires close trails at Mount Si, a section of Hwy 97, campgrounds
- The Mount Si trail system, a Seattle-area favorite outside of North Bend, is closed due to an 18-acre fire. Both Mount Si and Little Si trailheads are closed. Our news partner, The Seattle Times, reported that the Mount Si fire was caused by human activity. Mount Si Update 7/31: Both Mt Si and Little Si trails will re-open the morning of Aug. 1. Boulder Garden Loop Trail will remain closed for several weeks due to fire proximity and trail rehab needs.
- Over the weekend, the Colockum Tarps Fire (just south of Wenatchee) started in dry, brushy conditions and grew quickly to roughly 20,000 acres (or about 20 square miles), forcing evacuations in the area.
- In south Central Washington, more than 20,000 acres are burning off of Highway 97 just 15 miles northeast of Goldendale, Wash. Highway 97 from Toppenish to Goldendale remains closed, and drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes on State Route 14, State Route 221, and Interstate 82. The fire, dubbed the Mile Marker 28 Fire, has also closed campgrounds and nine miles of hiking trails at Brooks Memorial State Park.
- The Moore Point Fire on Lake Chelan has closed the Lakeshore Trail (#1274) between Meadow Creek and Flick Creek campground, including all the trails up the Fish Creek (#1248) drainage to the Summit Trail (#1259). Forest Service officials have closed Moore Point campground.
Safe to hike? If you ever have a question about hiking in a region with an active wildfire, contact or visit a ranger station.
Bookmark it: Inciweb has information, maps and recent updates about all wildfires burning across Washington.
Fire prevention, a backcountry refresher
If you're in the backcountry, and especially during high-risk times, it's best to avoid having a campfire altogether. Oftentimes campfires are prohibited above a certain elevation or near certain bodies of water.
If you must have a backcountry fire, follow the Leave No Trace principles:
- Make sure to check and follow all regulations. In some areas, regulations change depending on the season because of fire danger.
- Use only established fire rings, keep your campfire small and never leave a fire unattended.
- Use small pieces of wood gathered only from the ground and never break branches or cut down trees for a campfire.
- After a campfire is completely out, cool to touch, and all the wood turned to coal, scatter the cool ashes.
For more info check out: Leave No Trace's Minimize Campfire Impacts.
Campfire safety: if it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave
If you are in an area without a burn ban, make sure your campfire is built and put out responsibly. (Adapted from guidelines from the Gifford Pinchot and Mt. Hood national forests Fire Staff):
Building a fire
- Make sure a campfire is allowed. Check to see if there is a burn ban in your county.
- Find a shady spot away from dry logs, branches, bushes, needles or leaves.
- Make sure there are no overhanging tree branches near the fire.
- Use existing fire-rings where it is safe to do so. Don’t build fire-rings in roads.
- If needed, scoop a small hole to mineral soil in the center of the pit. Set this material aside, and replace it in the ring when the fire is totally out before leaving the area.
- Place rocks if available around pit. When finished, put rocks back where they were found.
- Keep campfire rings small and use wood no bigger than the ring.
Enjoying a fire
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
- Keep tents and other burnable 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.
- When leaving, make sure your fire is dead out. Very carefully feel all sticks and charred remains. Feel the coals and ashes. Make sure no roots are smoldering.
- Drown the campfire with water and stir charred material.
- If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.
More wildfire resources
- Visit Inciweb for the latest news and updates wildfires in Washington.
- To report a wildfire in Washington, call 800-562-6010.
- Follow the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Fire account at @waDNR_fire