Glory fire estimated at 30-40 acres, will be monitored by air.

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A week after wildfires shut the North Cascades Highway, much of North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake National Recreation Area was still inaccessible to motorists Wednesday afternoon as 45 miles of the cross-mountain road (state Highway 20) remained closed because of fire. The road closure now extends from about 5 miles north of Marblemount, Skagit County, east to Rainy Pass.

The news for hikers got worse as park officials Wednesday closed a portion of the park’s popular Cascade Pass Trail and nearby backcountry because of a newly discovered wildfire. Cascade Pass Trail has remained accessible from the Cascade River Road, which branches off Highway 20 at Marblemount, Skagit County. The road remains open until a planned Sept. 8 construction closure, though drivers may currently experience delays of up to 20 minutes during early stages of construction.

Closures necessitated by the Glory fire, discovered Tuesday and estimated at 30 to 40 acres, include:

–Cascade Pass Trail east of the junction with the Sahale Arm Trail and west of the junction with the Flat Creek Trail.

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–Upper Stehekin Valley Trail west of the junction with the Flat Creek Trail.

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–Pelton Basin, Basin Creek and Cottonwood camps.

–Horseshoe Basin Trail.

–Trapper Lake area.

Sahale Arm Trail and Sahale Glacier Camp as well as Flat Creek Trail and camp remained open Wednesday.

Because of limited access, the lightning-caused fire will be monitored from the air, park officials reported in an email.

Combined fires in the park are known as the Upper Skagit complex. Wednesday afternoon the fires totaled 6,655 acres, a park bulletin reported. Other information in that bulletin:

  • Firefighters are working to direct the fire past the North Cascade National Park Visitor Center and the adjacent Newhalem Creek Campground. No park infrastructure has been damaged. Fire engine crews remain in place for structure protection in Newhalem and the National Park Visitor Center area.
  • The fire along Goodell Creek was held at the creek with no westward progression. The fire continued to move eastward along its northeast and eastern flanks on both sides of Gorge Lake. Smoke conditions lifted sufficiently for fire managers to use helicopters to provide logistical support and monitor fire activity.
  • The highway closure was extended toward Marblemount as the fire moved westward. Loosened soil, rock and vegetation continue moving down the steep slopes onto the roadway creating continued driving hazards.
  • Crews and equipment fighting the fires include 179 people, two helicopters, six engines and a water tender.

Multiple trail, campground, and boat launch closures remain in effect. North Cascades National Park Complex closures are found at http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/current-park-conditions.htm.

For climbing and backcountry information, contact the park’s Wilderness Information Center at 360-854-7245. See highway updates here.

Click here to learn more about coping with wildfire smoke as you travel the Northwest. Click here for last week’s report on park closures, or for a Monday update.