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Fires near Ross Lake, NCNP


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I hiked up Eldorado Peak yesterday and saw a lot of smoke in Thunder Creek. I haven't read anything about these fires in the newspaper, but I think this Park Service press release talks about them:





Fires in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex



Sonya Capek,(360)873-4590 ext.7193

Prepared August 14, 2003


Marblemount - - National Park Service fire personnel are continuing to monitor or suppress a collection of lightning-caused fires which began in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex last week. Six small fires are burning in remote areas with natural barriers to fire spread, such as rocky cliffs. These fires can burn without posing a threat to human life or property and can be allowed to play their natural role in the ecosystem. The seventh fire, Colonial Creek, which is one-tenth of an acre in size, is being suppressed due to its proximity to visitor services.


Visitors may see smoke or helicopter activity at various points along the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20). Smoke may be most noticeable from the Big Beaver fire, which is presently 6 acres large, on the north side of the highway from Diablo or Ross Lake overlooks. Visitors are reminded to drive safely at all times.


All roads and trails in the park complex are open for visitor use. The ban on campfires remains in place except in the drive-in campgrounds accessed from the North Cascades Highway. In these campgrounds, people may have campfires in the fire pits at the individual campsites.


The North Cascades National Park Service Complex includes North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.


The smoke in Thunder Creek looked pretty thick, so I don't think it would be very pleasant hiking there right now. The NPS press release also says the Thunder Creek footbridge is out.


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Hey Lowell,

Last (last) weekend, we were up on Mt. Maude via the Carne Mountain route. We watched a small puff of smoke across Phelps Creek grow throughout the day. Start as a small puff which looked like a cloud lingering. By the end of the day, it was smokin! Coming out Leroy creek, we could hear the choppers runnin' back and forth. They had dropped people off to put it out. Can't figure out how it started other than lighting, it was high on the ridge and the weather was good the day before.

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We were in the area too, and Thunder Creek area looked full of smoke. We also saw a small fire near where we were at about mile 14 above the Cascade river road (south), and the next day (Sunday) it was still smoldering, and all those damn helocopters all day, well for good reason.


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A little more detail to add to the press release from NCNP that Lowell posted. The biggest fire in the Park is only about 50 acres on the east flank of Tricouni Pk. Most of its spread happened when it made an impressive run on Sunday afternoon from just a few trees to that size. It's expected to put out quite a bit of smoke every morning from inversion layers, then as it heats up on hot afternoons will then be bigger columns of smoke. This is a "no suppression" fire, (unless it grows over the acreage that is the maximum allowable) so may have this smoke pattern until fall rains. The experience in climbing peaks like Logan and others nearby may be hampered during certain times of day. (And at other times may give climbers and Thunder Cr hikers a great view of wildland fire!) Right now the expected course of the fire isn't a danger to hikers and climbers, and if it becomes one, trails will be closed. Not an issue for awhile.


Other fires in the area: 20 acres up Big Beaver in the small drainage south of McMillan Cr. Couple of small ones up Marble Creek. Small one south of the Triad. A 20 acres and growing fire on the southwest flank of Johannesburg - USFS is attempting to suppress, but very steep slopes make it difficult and is mainly a helicopter water bucket effort. All of the Park fires that are planned for suppression are out except one just above Colonial Campground (just a couple trees). The others will be monitored for the remainder of the season unless they escape what is allowed.


The NPS welcomes information calls about the fires at 360-873-4590 x7193.


Kelly Bush

Wilderness District Ranger

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I was on forbidden peak yesterday and it was pretty depressing to see smoke in basically every direction. We could see it coming from the fire near j-berg and also from somewhere down near moraine lake. there was tons of smoke further north and also out east, like usual. i guess it's the natural course and good in some cases, but it makes the summit views kinda hazy. tongue.gif

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