INDEX, Wash. — Highway 2 between Index and Skykomish is expected to remain closed until at least next week as crews remove unsafe trees that were burned in the Bolt Creek Fire.
As of Wednesday, a 13-mile stretch of U.S. 2 is closed between Sunset Falls (milepost 36), which is just east of Index-Galena Road, and Fifth Street North in Skykomish (milepost 49).
The Washington State Department of Transportation said Wednesday that crews are working toward reopening the highway Monday, Sept. 26.
The trees that were burned in the fire could crash down onto the roadway, according to WSDOT. Other hazards include falling rocks and rolling debris as the fire continues to destabilize terrain, according to the Northwest Incident Management Team 8.
Arborists with Washington State Parks removed 50 to 60 burned trees Wednesday morning and will continue until the risks are mitigated, WSDOT said.
The Bolt Creek Fire has been burning since Sept. 10 and has grown to an estimated 10,193 acres as of Tuesday morning, according to the fire management team.
Fire crews have completed 95% of their operational objective, which is to protect the Highway 2 corridor and prevent east-west spread. The north side of the fire is in the Wild Sky Wilderness and growth is expected to be minimal due to rock outcroppings and other holding features.
In an update Tuesday morning, the Northwest Incident Management Team 8 said strategic objectives have been met and fire crews were monitoring and patrolling completed control lines. Fire management was taken over by the Western Washington Type 3 team Wednesday morning.
The following evacuations are in effect:
Index and Skykomish are under Level 1 evacuations, which means get ready. Baring, Grotto, and the area along U.S. 2 east to the Money Creek Tunnel is under a Level 2 evacuation, which means get set. The area along U.S. 2 from the west side of the Money Creek Tunnel to milepost 48 and Forest Service Road 65 or Beckler River Road is under a Level 3 evacuation, which means leave now.
The fire has damaged one outbuilding, according to the Northwest Incident Management Team 8.
Its cause is undetermined.