Highway 2 reopens after Bolt Creek Fire again forces closure

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — A section of U.S. 2 has reopened after it closed again on Wednesday due to the Bolt Creek Fire near Skykomish.

It’s been nearly a month since the fire started.

The Washington State Department of Transportation closed the highway again for the same reason earlier this week and last month.

Debris from the wildfire, especially burned trees and rolling rocks, was in danger of falling onto the highway. Crews identified and removed the potential hazards.

U.S. 2 closed at around 10 a.m. and was reopened just before 6 p.m. The closure was scheduled between mileposts 44 to 55 between Grotto and the ranger station, but WSDOT tweeted that the closure points had to be adjusted and the road was closed from milepost 42 to 50.

There were no detours, so drivers had to take alternate routes.

While Wednesday’s closure of U.S. 2 may not be the last caused by the threat of falling trees, problems could last through the winter.

“In a normal year, we have trees fall. Now with fire damage in addition to that, we’re not sure what it’s going to look like. So I would expect to see times where this has to happen again,” said Bolt Creek Fire operations section chief Scott Sorenson.

Sorenson said heavy rain is the only way that the northern parts of the fire will be extinguished.

Firefighters have been focusing on containment lines along the fire’s perimeter but have been letting the flames burn out in areas where there are no structures and the terrain is extremely dangerous.

“We can’t get folks up there to really knock that heat down because of all the potential hazards up there with trees falling and rocks rolling,” said Amanda Monthei with Western Washington Emergency Management.

But the rain that the area needs to put out the fire presents more dangers after the fire fractured the landscape.

Sorenson said trees along Highway 2 already have shallow roots, so concerns remain for residents and drivers in the months ahead.

“If you do drive through the area, make sure you keep an eye out on the trees and what’s going on. We try to do the best we can to identify those, but they can come down anytime,” said Sorenson.

Evacuation guidance for the fire is no longer in place for those living in Snohomish and King counties.

The fire is estimated to have burned 12,625 acres and is 36% contained.

For updates on the Bolt Creek Fire, follow this link.