Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from Saturday, Sept. 10 as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated.

Highway 2 over Stevens Pass is closed Saturday, from Galena Road to Beckler Road, because of a growing wildfire in the area.

The Bolt Creek fire, as it’s been named, was first reported early Saturday at 20 acres, but has rapidly grown to over 2,000 acres, according to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Spokesperson Ryan Rodruck said it is burning through timber in mountainous terrain.

Snohomish County residents were mistakenly told to evacuate because of the Bolt Creek fire Saturday afternoon, even though no one west of Index is under any evacuation notices.

Winds are pushing smoke from the fire west toward Seattle, degrading air quality to be unhealthy for all groups. Ash is blanketing areas as far south as Mill Creek and could soon fall on Seattle. The haze is likely to linger in Western Washington through Sunday.

Throughout Saturday, on this page, updates will be provided on fires, air quality and evacuations.

Family of eight evacuates mobile home out of Index

Rebecca and Ryan Martin, along with their six children and a 10-week-old cat, had been traveling the West Coast in their mobile home, a rickety but cozy forest green school bus.

On Saturday, it was covered in a thin layer of ash as it sat in the parking lot of the Startup Event Center, which was serving as an evacuation center for escapees of the Bolt Creek Fire.

The couple had been together for more than two decades but this was their first wildfire. The family had moved to Index in April so their children could attend a local school.

The Martin’s evacuated their home Saturday morning, gathering only what they could — food, diapers and clothing — but leaving behind everything else.

“Everything else…everything else is at home,” Rebecca said.

The family plans on staying in Startup “until we know if our house is safe.”

Ryan, who works at the Troublesome Creek Campground in the town of Gold Bar, spent the early morning hastily waking up campers for fear the fire might reach them. He then rushed home to help his family, where Rebecca was preparing the children to leave.

The family plans on staying in Startup until the fire subsides or moves elsewhere. The children, for whom the debacle is more adventure then evacuation, were chasing each other around the bus. The parents were nerve-wracked but relaxed, now that they had reached safety.

“Hopefully we can go home,” Rebecca said.

—Nick Turner
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Donations for evacuated livestock to be accepted Sunday and Monday

Donations of clean bedding for evacuated livestock will be accepted on Sunday and Monday between 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds Dairy Barn in Monroe.

In an update by Snohomish County, officials said at this time, food and grain are not needed.

Volunteer Melody Dazey said livestock can be brought to Building 106 at the Evergreen Fairgrounds in Monroe, while some residents are opening their pastures or chicken coops, even space for reptile tanks.

Anyone with questions is asked to call 425-388-6616.

Startup Event Center welcomes evacuees

The Startup Event Center, in the town of Startup located along Highway 2, is welcoming evacuees fleeing the Bolt Creek fire.

Staffer Debbie Copple said the building can handle 200 people, maybe more, though it will need to rely on local and state agencies as well as nearby community members for food and bedding.

“It’s nothing fancy but it’s a place to be,” Copple said.

By around 6 p.m. Saturday, about 15 people had stopped at the event center to wait for family or friends to offer them a place to stay. “There’s a lot of room for us to be able to keep people.”

—Nick Turner

Startup restaurant patrons heed warnings

Shauna Smith, 59, a part-time bartender at the Sky River Pub and Eatery in Startup said the business typically gets 20 to 25 customers on a normal Saturday afternoon. Today there are only a handful of regulars.

Many of them left the restaurant as soon as the warnings to prepare for an evacuation were sent out, she said.

Corey Breece, a 57-year-old truck driver from Gold Bar, said he’s not worried about the fire reaching his home. Breece said he has driven through worse fires in California. Still, he’s never experienced anything besides wildfire smoke in the area.

“I never thought it would get this close to Seattle,” he said, urging people to take the warnings from officials seriously and to not panic unnecessarily.

In Startup, ash was raining from the hazy white sky. A few miles further down Highway 2 in Index, the sky was orange.

—Amanda Zhou
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Power in Skykomish may not be restored for days

It's not clear when power will return to Skykomish, but the town's sewage system may be recovered soon.

"It could be a couple of days, just based on how long it takes for the fire to get under control," said Sultan Mayor Russell Wiita, who took a generator from Sultan to replace a downed generator in Skykomish.

The Skykomish sewage system depends on a generator to power a lift used to pump waste to a treatment plant. That system went down when the generator failed Saturday. But Wiita, who had an idle generator, was working with staff Saturday afternoon to get the replacement installed and the small town's sewage system running.

—Nick Turner

Highway 2 will remain closed through weekend

Highway 2, east of Gold Bar at Zeke’s Drive-In to the east end of Skykomish will remain closed through Sunday because of the Bolt Creek fire, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The roadway will only be open to people who are evacuating the area and first responders.

Traffic on Interstate 90 is expected to be more congested than usual on Sunday, when thousands return home from weekend travel, because of expected wildfire-related closures for both Stevens Pass and White Pass, according to the WSDOT. Drivers in the Leavenworth and Wenatchee areas were advised to divert through Blewett Pass to I-90, for trips to the Seattle-Everett area, instead of trying to drive Highway 2 westward.

—Mike Lindblom

Thick smoke covers Baring as Bolt Creek fire spreads

—Daniel Kim
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Emergency vehicle respond to Bolt Creek fire

—Jennifer Buchanan

Air quality reaches unhealthy levels in Seattle area

The air quality in the Seattle area reached unhealthy levels Saturday afternoon because of smoke from the Bolt Creek fire near Skykomish and other wildfires throughout the state.

The air quality index in Lake Forest Park was the highest in the state, nearly reaching the "very unhealthy" level, according to the Washington state Department of Ecology. The air quality index in Seattle's South Park neighborhood was also among the highest.

Everyone should limit time outside and avoid strenuous outdoor activity, the department said. Symptoms of exposure include burning eyes, cough, headaches and wheezing and shortness of breath.

The air quality in Seattle was the worst in the world on Saturday afternoon, according to IQ Air.

Read the full story here.

—Paige Cornwell

In Portland, high layer of smoke hangs in the air

In Oregon Saturday, public safety power cutoffs intended to prevent utility electric lines from sparking new blazes extended to areas of Portland’s West Hills. These preventive power cut-offs by Portland General Electric (PGE) are a stark reminder of how the threat of fire, amid extremely dry conditions and gusting east winds, reached even into residential neighborhoods of the state’s largest city.

Through late afternoon, a high layer of smoke hung in the sky, and helped to keep Portland temperatures cooler than what had been forecast. Shortly before 4 p.m., the temperature was 88 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Elsewhere in Oregon, some fires that ignited earlier have grown dramatically in size as the winds have kicked up. The Cedar Creek Fire near Waldo Lake was set off Aug. 1 by lightening in difficult, hard-to-access terrains and has made big runs during the past days. It now covers more than 73,000 acres, and has triggered evacuations as firefighter seek to protect homes in Oakridge, WestFir and other communities, according to an information update from fire officials.

During the past day, new Oregon fires also have ignited, including one that touched off Friday at Milo McIver State Park east of Portland and forced evacuations.

—Hal Bernton
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Startup Events Center opened as evacuation center

The Startup Events Center at 14315 366th Ave. S.E. has been opened as an evacuation center, where people can access restrooms and there’s space for trailers and other large vehicles, said Melody Dazey of the Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Two churches in Sultan are also accepting evacuees: Crosswater Community Church at 202 Birch St. and Mountainview Church at 320 6th St.

Dazey is also coordinating a group of about 60 volunteers to help people who need to evacuate or who have offered up places to shelter animals – and is meant to keep from overwhelming emergency responders.

Livestock can be brought to Building 106 at the Evergreen Fairgrounds in Monroe, but others are opening their pastures or offering up everything from chicken coops to space for reptile tanks, she said. Anyone who needs help can contact Dazey, who will then assign volunteers to respond. She can be reached at 360-793-0983 or 425-301-2267.

—Sara Jean Green

Snohomish County residents mistakenly told to evacuate homes

Snohomish County residents were mistakenly told to evacuate because of the Bolt Creek fire Saturday afternoon, even though no one west of Index is under any evacuation notices.

People who subscribed to a Snohomish County alert system received an alert shortly after 3 p.m. saying "GO! No time for delay."

"Someone pushed the wrong button," said Jarred Spence, deputy chief of support services with Sky Valley Fire Department.

A correction alert was sent to clarify the evacuation alert is for part of Index only, citing a "technology error."

However the erroneous alert to people in areas not impacted by the fire "is adding to the confusion and panic," said Melody Dazey, who is coordinating volunteers at the visitor information center in Startup, about 15 miles west of Index.

—David Kroman and Paige Cornwell

Bolt Creek fire darkens sky near Index

Adam Wicks-Arshack, who lives just outside Index on the Skykomish River south of Highway 2, woke up Saturday to a deep orange hazy sky. Whole pieces of charred bark and pine needles were falling from the sky and the river was filling with debris, he said.

Though his property was under a Level 1 evacuation, Wicks-Arshack and his wife decided to leave with their 10-month-old son.

The air was so thick with smoke, they became concerned about their son’s lungs.

“It was so powerful just to see that rapid change of our entire place where we live,” said Wicks-Arshack, an attorney with Snohomish County Legal Services.

—David Kroman
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Power outages reported in Skykomish area

Two power outages have been reported in the Skykomish area, affecting about 770 Puget Sound Energy customers.

The first outage in Skykomish was reported at 1:43 p.m., and impacts 416 customers, according to the Puget Sound Energy outage map. The estimated time for power to be restored is 4 p.m. The cause is under investigation.

The second outage, west of Skykomish between Grotto and Baring, was reported Saturday morning and caused by trees or vegetation, according to Puget Sound Energy. The estimated restoration time is Monday afternoon.

—Paige Cornwell

Highway 2 closed from east of Gold Bar to Skykomish

—Frank Mina
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Wildfire continues to grow, fire marshal's office says

The Bolt Creek fire near Index is estimated at 2,000 acres — about 3 square miles — and growing, the State Fire Marshal's Office said Saturday afternoon.

The fire is burning heavy timber, logging slash and brush, the marshal's office said.

The cause is under investigation.

—Paige Cornwell

Hikers reportedly trapped in Barclay Lake area

Crews are working to get to hikers reportedly trapped in the Barclay Lake area northeast of Baring, according to the Sky Valley Fire Department.

A helicopter and personnel have been dispatched to the location.

—Paige Cornwell

Air quality alert in effect

An air quality alert is in effect for much of Western Washington through 6 p.m. Sunday.

The air quality is expected to worsen throughout the day, especially in Snohomish and northern King counties, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said. Residents should stay indoors, if possible, and avoid strenuous activity.

In Island, Skagit and Whatcom counties, the air quality could diminish to unhealthy and very unhealthy, according to the Northwest Clean Air Agency.

Exposure to wildfire smoke can cause a headache and burning eyes, a sore throat, coughing and shortness of breath, according to the agency.

—Paige Cornwell
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Location of Bolt Creek fire

Drivers asked to turn around 'well ahead' of closures

Eastbound State Route 2 is closed at mile marker 31.7, approximately 2 miles east of Gold Bar, and westbound is closed at Skykomish, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office. Drivers are asked to turn around "well ahead" of the closures.

—Paige Cornwell

Level 3 evacuation ordered for anyone between Index and Skykomish

A mandatory, level 3 evacuation has been ordered for anyone between Index and Skykomish, north of Highway 2, meaning they must leave the area now. Anyone in need of assistance should call 911.

—David Kroman