Norse Peak Fires Update Friday, September 1, 2017
Incident: Norse Peak Fire Wildfire
The Florida Red Team took command of management of the fire this morning. They thanked the Northwest Incident Management Team 13 for the work they have done in protecting lives and property while managing these fires.
The Norse Peak Fire (15,528 acres) continues growing today to the north, northwest, and to the south where it moved down towards Highway 410 along Gold Hill to the west and Fifes Peak to the east. Helicopter bucket drops of water were used to slow the progression of the fire. Firefighters used strategic firing along the Highway 410 corridor to remove the fuels between the road and the fire, which prompted the closure of Highway 410 last night for the safety of the public and the firefighters working along the road. As the Norse Peak Fire continues to grow to the north and east into the Crow Creek drainage, fire managers are determining containment lines. For the protection of the public they have closed Forest Road 1900 (aka: “Road 19” and “Little Naches”). Crow Creek Campground is closed. The area to the south and west of Road 19 also remains closed. Law enforcement is enforcing the closure.
Due to last night’s fire behavior, the highway will not be open today. Fire managers and Washington Department of Transportation officials continue to evaluate Highway 410. Firefighters will continue to work along the west side of the highway during this time. Drivers should be extra cautious. Check Department of Transportation travel alerts at http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts/.
The Little Naches Cabin Tract, as well as Kaner Flat and Little Naches campgrounds remain open, but are under a Level 1 evacuation notice. This area is under a Level 1 evacuation notice, which means “BE READY” for a potential evacuation. Be aware of the danger that exists in the area; monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. Those that are in a campground and are unable to connect to the Internet or media outlets should look at the bulletin boards for information about the wildfire. If conditions warrant an evacuation, campers will be notified. There is no dispersed camping allowed in the area.
The extreme hot and dry conditions forecast for this weekend indicates that there is a significant potential for the fire to continue its spread, especially Monday and Tuesday. Fire managers plan to continue prepping the Highway 410 corridor going west to Morse Creek and Bear Gap and east toward American River Guard Station. They will continue efforts to protect the cabins at the Union Creek trailhead, the Union Creek foot bridge and other facilities in the area.
Crystal Mountain to the west of the fire is being assessed for structure protection and the identification of containment areas should the fire progress that far. This is a proactive measure; the fire is currently not threatening the Crystal Mountain Resort.
On the south side of Highway 410 the American Fire (321 acres) continues backing downhill. Firefighters have been working in the area to remove potential fuel should the fire come over the top of the American Ridge. Crews are also making good progress removing brush and branches to improve a contingency fuel break along the Bumping River Road from Goose Prairie towards the Bumping Lake Dam. Work will continue in this area with the objective of being in the best position to protect lives, homes and infrastructure in the area.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is open from White Pass to Chinook Pass. The PCT remains closed from Chinook Pass north to Government Meadow. Only trained firefighters working on the Norse Peak Fire are allowed in the fire area. For their own safety, hikers must avoid going into fire closure areas.
Weather and anticipated fire behavior: A high-pressure system is over the fire today, which will deliver much warmer temperatures, lower relative humidity and lighter winds. The warming and will continue to intensify over the holiday weekend with near record high temperatures and low humidity.
Resources: 7 Type 2 crews; 20 engines; 2 dozers; 4 water tenders; 6 falling groups; 2 pieces of heavy equipment; 2 helicopters.
All Closures, Restrictions and Evacuations remain in effect. For more details and maps visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5509/. Recreational cabins at Union Creek and Pleasant Valley, and the Lodgepole and Pleasant Valley campgrounds, remain closed under Level 3 Evacuation Notification. A broad area of National Forest around the fires, including many trails, is closed. The Bumping Lake and Bumping River Road area remains under Level 1 Notification. The recreational facilities including campgrounds and businesses in the area, such as Chinook Outfitters, remain open.