High temperatures and bone-dry conditions provide ideal conditions for fire surrounding the village to grow.
Fire crews near Lake Chelan’s south shore kept the Wolverine fire from invading Holden Village on Thursday, while others battled new blazes in the North Cascades that prompted trail closures and detours.
The massive Wolverine fire grew to more than 57 square miles and surrounded the Lutheran retreat village under dry and hot conditions Thursday. A “red flag” warning was in effect throughout the day because of extreme fire danger.
Fire-information officer Wayne Patterson said the blaze has met fuel breaks around the community, and firefighters are using drip torches near the setup in an attempt to push the fire back.
Aerial crews are also dropping ping-pong-like balls made of chemicals that heat up for targeted burnout in the area.
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Meanwhile, two new lighting-caused wildfires near northern Washington’s Methow Valley are forcing the closure of a popular section of the Pacific Crest Trail.
The fire danger is also forcing miners to leave the area, and travelers along the popular North Cascades Highway can see one of the fires from the road.
“Our main concerns include predicted lightning igniting more fires, lack of firefighting resources and the large number of miners in the bottom of the Slate Creek drainage — there is only one road in and out of this drainage, ” according to a statement from Methow Valley District Ranger Mike Liu.
The two fires began after lightning rolled across the North Cascades on Wednesday.
The 40-acre Tatie Peak wildfire is burning in the Slate Creek drainage, about 3 miles from Harts Pass and 20 miles northwest of the Methow Valley community of Mazama.
According to a post Thursday on the Pacific Crest Trail Association’s website, the popular trail closed from around Rainy Pass to around Harts Pass on Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
The second wildfire, the small half-acre Cutthroat Fire, is burning near the North Cascades Highway, about 9 miles southwest of Mazama. It was easily visible from the road, according to the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Firefighters hiked in to fight it late Wednesday and more arrived Thursday morning.
Another section of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington (the trail stretches from Mexico to Canada) already had been closed by the Blankenship fire burning near the northwest end of Lake Chelan, near Stehekin.