Outdoors

Paradise Fire scorches 375 acres inside Olympic National Park

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 375 acres along the Queets River near the confluence with Paradise Creek.

Fire crews have started work to limit the spread of the fire on its west side, then will work to the east. Fire managers have requested more firefighters and a helicopter.

A fire monitor discovered the fire while flying over the area Monday. The park then 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 to help develop options for fighting the fire.

The fire is smoldering and creeping in logs on the forest floor and carrying into treetops where dry lichen allows it to jump from tree to tree, according to a report on national wildfire incident information system.

Rugged terrain and centuries-old tall trees make fighting the fire a challenge, said park spokeswoman Barb Maynes. Fireighters are hoping to keep the fire from spreading into the steep slopes above the river where it would be difficult and dangerous for fire personnel.

The weather forecast for the week calls for cooler temperatures and possible showers Friday, which could slow the spread of the fire. The extended forecast, however, is for warmer and dryer conditions this summer. While park managers have opted to fight the fire, it is expected to continue to show smoke for much of the summer.

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

The Queets River Trail remains closed at Bob Creek.

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