Bolt Creek Fire at 9,440 acres; evacuation levels reduced

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — Evacuation levels continued to be lowered in the Bolt Creek Fire that started north of Skykomish on Saturday.

As of Thursday night, Sept. 15, an estimated 9,440 acres had burned, and the fire was 5% contained.

Officials said there had been no significant changes to the fire activity. Find updates here.

US 2 is the containment line. Firefighters have been working along the highway to prevent the fire from crossing.

Eighteen miles of US 2, including Stevens Pass, remain closed from milepost 31.7, approximately 2 miles east of Gold Bar, to milepost 49, west of Stevens Pass, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

A tree reported to be about 50 inches in diameter fell along US 2 on Wednesday night in one of the areas scorched by the fire. No one was in the area when it fell.

“This is one example of the hazards being faced by our firefighters and being considered to ensure the safety of the roadway before it can be reopened,” NW Incident Management Team 8 said on its Facebook Bolt Creek Fire Information page.

Because of that hazard and others, US 2 will be closed through at least Monday.

Drivers are advised to turn around well ahead of the closures and expect heavier traffic than usual on other cross-state highways, including Interstate 90 and State Route 20, during the wildfire response.

No injuries have been reported. One outbuilding was destroyed on Sunday.

Evacuation information

(As of noon, Sept. 15, 2022)

Level 3 - leave now:

Baring and Grotto, and the area along Highway 2 to MP 48 (east of the Money Creek tunnel), Forest Service Road 65/Beckler River Road.

Level 2 – Be prepared to evacuate:

No level 2 evacuation areas.

Level 1 - be aware of the danger in the area and to start preparing for evacuation:

Index and Skykomish.

Evacuations and road closures can be found at this link.

Red Cross Northwest opened an emergency shelter at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe.

The shelter closed on Wednesday afternoon after evacuation levels were lowered and many residents returned home.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized the use of federal funds to help with the costs of battling the fire.

The state’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant was approved after the FEMA Region 10 Administrator determined that “the Bolt Creek Fire threatened to cause such damage as would constitute a major disaster.”

State fire assistance was mobilized to support local firefighters working to contain the Bolt Creek Fire, according to the State Fire Marshal’s office.

The fire started at about 5:15 a.m. Saturday in a clearing north of Skykomish, near Beckler Creek Road, and moved west.

“A large wildfire along the north side of US 2 from just outside Skykomish to Baring is threatening homes. Residents of the area should be ready to evacuate with little notice,” said King County officials in a tweet posted just after 10 a.m. Saturday. “If residents along US 2 between MP 35 and 47 have not been notified by authorities to evacuate, be ready to leave. Local law enforcement is going door-to-door to notify residents.”

This is a developing story.