Local

Crystal Mountain residents can head home even though fires are still burning

Snowfall is shown at the Crystal Mountain Resort on Monday. The snow may have helped reduce the fire risk there, letting nearby residents return to their homes after an evacuation order was downgraded Monday afternoon.
Snowfall is shown at the Crystal Mountain Resort on Monday. The snow may have helped reduce the fire risk there, letting nearby residents return to their homes after an evacuation order was downgraded Monday afternoon. Courtesy photo

A fire evacuation warning has been lowered in certain areas around the Crystal Mountain ski resort, letting some residents return home for the first time since Labor Day.

Residents of the Gold Hill Community and Crystal Mountain area were told they could come home at about 1 p.m. Monday. The Crystal Mountain area had been under a Level 3 evacuation order since Sept. 4.

Some snowfall in the area may have helped make the difference. Crystal Mountain received a summer snowfall on Monday.

Shortly afterward, the resort posted on its Facebook page:“Isn't it pretty? The forecast is calling for snow all week! Buh-bye fire!”

The evacuation warning in the Gold Hill and Crystal Mountain areas remains at Level 2, meaning that there is still significant danger and residents who return to their homes should be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, officials said.

On Monday afternoon, firefighters in the area were still working to contain the Norse Peak Fire, which had grown to more than 52,000 acres and was only 12 percent contained. The fire straddles the border of Pierce and Yakima counties.

Close by on the southern edge of King County, the Sawmill Creek Fire totaled more than 1,000 acres with no containment on Monday. Fire crews said they expect this week’s forecast for precipitation to slow the spread of that fire, which burns near Greenwater.

The Norse Peak Fire started after a lightning strike Aug. 11, while the Sawmill Creek Fire has been burning since Sept. 4.

Because of the ongoing fires, the ski resort at Crystal Mountain has closed for the remainder of the summer season.

Melissa Santos: 360-357-0209, @melissasantos1

  Comments