Outdoors

Fire burns more than 350 acres in Queets valley inside Olympic National Park

UPDATED AT 11:43 A.M.

A wildfire, believed to have started in late May, continues to slowly burn in the southwest corner of Olympic National Park. The Paradise Fire has burned almost 370 acres along the Queets River near the confluence with Paradise Creek.

According to a Facebook post from the park, fire managers have come up with options to slow the fire’s growth on its west and south flanks. They have also requested more firefighters.

The park initially sent in a three-person crews to assess the fire and conditions. On Wednesday, a 10-person crew from the Klamath National Forest in northern California arrived, and will help develop options for fighting the fire.

Rugged terrain and tall trees make fighting the fire a challenge, said park spokeswoman Barb Maynes.

Fire managers also announced they determined that lightning from a storm in late May started the fire.

The Queets River Trail remains closed at Bob Creek.

ORIGINAL STORY

A three-person crew was hiking Tuesday up the Queets River valley in Olympic National Park to check the status of an approximately 250-acre wildfire first discovered Monday.

The Paradise Fire is about 12 miles from the Queets River trailhead, near the confluence of Paradise Creek and the Queets River. What started it is unknown at this time, park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said.

A fire monitor discovered the fire while flying over the area Monday.

Maynes said the fire is burning slowly along the river, but is bounded by extremely rugged and steep terrain.

Because of the fire, the Queets River Trail is closed at Bob Creek until further notice.

A three-person crew will make the first on-the-ground assessment of the fire, fuel moisture and other conditions.

Wednesday (June 17), a 10-person wildland fire crew from northern California is expected to arrive at the park. This crew is specifically trained in evaluating conditions and risks associated with wilderness fires.

Information gathered by the two crews will be used to develop a long-term strategy for managing the fire, Maynes said. Factors including human safety, current and forecast weather conditions, fire location, terrain, and unique natural and cultural resources will be used to develop a response plan.

The weather forecast for the week calls for cooler temperatures and possible showers Friday. The extended forecast is for warmer and dryer conditions into the summer.

In the North Cascades National Park Complex, the 103-acre Thunder Creek Fire is 60 percent contained. Parts of the Thunder Creek and Fisher Creek trails remain closed.

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