A bout of rain over the weekend brought some relief from forest fires that have been smoldering in the western Cascades for more than a month.
While the Bolt Creek fire near Skykomish isn’t extinguished, it’s unlikely to spread, said Matt Dehr, a wildland fire meteorologist at Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
“I don’t expect any more growth from that fire,” he said. “It’s definitely looking a lot better.”
Western Washington can expect more rain throughout the week, bringing an official end to a late-season dry spell, he said.
The cool and wet weather cleared the air of wildfire smoke that launched Seattle to the top of lists ranking most-polluted cities in the world last week. It’s unlikely those levels of smoke will return to the Puget Sound region this year, Dehr said. However, communities from Lake Wenatchee to Leavenworth may still see some smoke from the wildfires.
The latest update on the Bolt Creek fire came from the state Department of Natural Resources on Friday evening and reported the fire as 51% contained. About 14,800 acres were still burning at that time. The rain Friday and Saturday “definitely helped the firefighters,” Dehr said.
The cool, wet weather raises new concerns for mudslides, landslides and fallen trees in the region, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Highway 2, which has been closed intermittently through the fire area, is open, but the risk of flash flooding is high between mileposts 38 and 50, the state Department of Transportation said Friday. The agency cautioned that debris could flow suddenly and without warning and that there may be unplanned closures along the highway.