Fire in Olympic National Park Closes Popular Region

UPDATE: On August 18th, the road was once again closed to the public over concerns for safety. A previous update on August 1st, reported that the Obstruction Point Road was reopened to the public. That was the case, but it is once again closed. 

The Obstruction Point Road in Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge region is closed to to smoke from a wildfire.  The popular area for hikers, backpackers and marmots is usually packed during the end of summer, but thanks to a wildfire burning nearby, the region is inaccessible for vehicle traffic until the fire is contained. See high quality pictures of this fire in here. Please read the latest information about the Olympic National Park wildfires here: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4906/#

A few weeks ago, on a Thursday, ONP staff confirmed that a third wildland fire is burning within the park. The three-acre Cox Valley Fire was ignited by lightning on the night of July 21, which saw over 400 lighting strikes hitting the Olympic Mountains.  The fire smoldered undetected for nearly a week, before flaring up on Thursday. The Cox Valley fire is located about two-and-a-half miles northeast of Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and is said to visible from both the Hurricane Ridge Road and many areas of the north Olympic Peninsula

According to a press release from Olympic National Park, “the Cox Valley Fire is burning in an area of heavy fuels including numerous dead snags, leading to extensive smoke production. Because of smoke and visibility impacts, the Obstruction Point Road has been closed. Park and fire personnel will provide assistance and escort for any hikers whose cars may have been parked along the road overnight.”

 

Image of the Cox Fire via NPS
Image of the Cox Fire via NPS

The press released continued by saying that the other two fires are the 25-acre Hayes Fire, located close to the geographic center of the park in the upper Elwha Valley and the 60-acre Godkin Fire, also burning in the Elwha Valley about 25 miles south of Port Angeles.

“Smoke from each of these fires will likely be noticeable over the coming days, which are predicted to be warm and sunny,” said Spector. “No structures or facilities are threatened in any way, however.”

A six-person crew, comprised of Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest firefighters is camped in the upper Elwha Valley and is monitoring the Hayes and Godkin fires, along with local weather and fuel. A three-person crew is staged near the Cox Valley Fire. We will update this story as best we can, with new pictures coming soon.

Featured image is from Maiden Peak, looking toward Obstruction Point.

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By Doug and Mathias on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

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