SEATTLE — A four-mile stretch of US 2 near Skykomish is closed due to the Bolt Creek Fire burning near the roadway. Three miles of US 2 closed Monday night, and the closure was extended to four miles Tuesday morning.
As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, both directions of US 2 are closed between Northeast Old Cascade Highway and 747th Avenue Northeast in Skykomish (milepost 46-50), according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
The WSDOT said crews were working with Incident Command Tuesday morning to remove trees along the highway that posed a danger to public safety. The department tweeted a video just after 11 a.m. showing crews working in smoky conditions cutting down burnt trees near the roadway.
Drivers are asked to avoid the area and expect more traffic on other cross-state highways like I-90.
The Bolt Creek Fire has been burning since Sept. 10 and has grown to an estimated 11,674 acres and is 13% contained, according to InciWeb. The cause of the fire is currently unknown. A 13-mile stretch of US 2 reopened Saturday after being closed for weeks due to the fire.
Officials said hot and dry conditions on Monday slightly increased fire behavior, which resulted in more wildfire smoke in the area. The conditions are expected to last through Wednesday.
Incident Commander Kent Stanford posted in an update Tuesday morning that a Fire Weather Watch remained in place across the Bolt Creek Fire area, but said conditions were expected to be moderate Tuesday as temperatures drop and a chance for potential moisture moved into the area Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.
Air quality is expected to be moderate near the Cascades foothills in parts of Snohomish, King, and Peirce counties, but it should improve for most places out along the coast with onshore flow picking up Tuesday evening, according to KING 5 Meteorologist Rich Marriott.
The following evacuation orders are in effect as of Tuesday morning:
Areas south of US 2 near Index, including Index Estates and the Lake Serene Trailhead, and east of Skykomish from the Beckler River to Forest Service Road 66, north and south of US 2, including Foss River Road, are under Level 1 evacuations, which means get ready.
Baring, Grotto and the area along US 2 east to the Money Creek tunnel is under a Level 2 evacuation, which means get set. Skykomish is also under a Level 2 “get set to leave on short notice” level.
A Level 3 evacuation order is in effect from the west side of the Money Creek tunnel to milepost 48 and Forest Service Road 65 (Beckler River Road).
The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest implemented an emergency closure on National Forest lands. Roads, trails, and campgrounds are currently closed. Click here to read the full order.
A burn ban is in effect until “significant rain is received.”