Tumwater Canyon fire still burning, but Highway 2 reopened

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by LIZA JAVIER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 19, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 19 at 7:26 PM

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. -- State transportation workers will reopen a 15-mile stretch of Highway 2 near Leavenworth at 8:00 p.m. Friday evening. The highway was closed due to the the Tumwater Canyon wildfire, which has grown to over 200 acres.

Fire officials and WSDOT urge drivers in the area not to stop on the highway, as crews may use shoulders for firefighting purposes.

The wildfire began earlier this week on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, about six miles north of Leavenworth. Highway 2 is closed from milepost 84 at Coles Corner to Leavenworth at milepost 99.

Get road closure updates here

The fire is moving uphill, burning trees, brush and shrubs in rugged terrain.  Over 200 fire personnel from various agencies are fighting the wildfire. Fire crews say their strategy Friday is to keep the fire out of private timber lands, protect resources, and ensure firefighter and public safety.

This week typically marks the midpoint of fire season, but the number of wildfires is down. On average, there are nearly 470 wildfires on state managed lands by the end of July. This year, there been just over 200 wildfires.

Cold and wet weather has helped minimize the fire threat, but it has been dry lately and the potential is there for a significant fire. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid 80s with clear skies and light winds this weekend.

King County, together with other county and state entities, declares a fire safety burn ban on outdoor burning when the fire danger reaches a critical level through Friday, September 30.

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