Stubborn fire will keep Crystal Mountain closed until snow hits the slopes


With wildfires mellowing out just a little, Crystal Mountain Resort said Monday that it will remain closed.

“Due to ongoing efforts to contain the fire, we will remain closed for the rest of the summer season,” the resort posted on Facebook.

The area is still under evacuation but firefighters have managed to get a better handle on the 49,997-acre Norse Peak Fire, which came roaring down the hill toward Crystal a week ago.

“We are breathing a little easier today, literally,” they wrote on their Facebook page Sunday. At that time they hoped to reopen soon.

But on Monday, Crystal Mountain decided to call it quits.

“We were hoping to reopen for the final weekend but that's not going to be possible,” they said.

The blaze is 12 percent contained.

Few flames remain in Bullion Basin and crews sent to check out the danger level decided not to dig a line around Crystal.

“When a wildland guy decides not to cut a line, that tells you that part of the fire is really a downer,” Crystal Mountain Fire Chief Paul Sowers said. “Those guys will cut line around a cigarette butt.”

On Monday, different management teams assumed command of the south and north sides of the wildfire. It is now split into two zones by the Pacific Crest Trail.

Fire officials said that was the logical division since it separates Pierce and Yakima counties and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee forests.

The blaze might expand a little on the east side but isn’t expected to continue growing, thanks to helicopters dropping water.

No structures have burned and crews continue to prioritize protecting cabins.

There are 603 firefighters assigned to the Norse Peak Fire.

Although the Sawmill Creek Fire is holding steady at 848 acres, it continues to threaten the Tacoma watershed and has no containment.

That wildfire has 360 firefighters working on it northeast of Greenwater.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653