First fire of the season burns in Olympic National Park

26 July 2016 | Episode |

ONP sent out an announcement today that an approximately seven-acre wildland fire is burning in the wilderness of the Elwha River valley. The Seven-Acre Godkin Fire is located about 25 miles south of Port Angeles, in approximately the geographic center of Olympic National Park. The fire was ignited during last Thursday’s series of storms, which led to over 400 lightning strikes over the Olympic Mountains, along with significant rainfall.

A fire monitor flew over the area yesterday and observed the fire near the confluence of Godkin Creek and the Elwha River. The fire is burning in extremely rugged and steep terrain on the west side of the valley, about a third of a mile uphill from the river at an elevation of 2,300 feet.

“We will continue to monitor this fire and plan to use natural barriers such as rock outcrops, landslides and the river to limit its growth,” said Olympic National Park Acting Superintendent Rachel Spector. “Human safety is our top priority and any response to a wilderness fire will address firefighter safety as our first concern.”

A six-person crew, comprised of Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest firefighters, will be flown to the fire area today and will begin on-the-ground assessment of the fire, fuel moisture and other conditions.

The short term weather forecast is calling for continued moist conditions with a warming trend this week, to be followed by cooler conditions next week. Unlike 2015, this summer’s weather and fuel conditions are average for the Olympic Mountains, leading to a much more typical fire season for the area.

The closest park facilities to the fire are the Elwha River Trail and Camp Wilder Shelter, both of which are located across the river from the fire and are not at risk. The fire is about 15 miles south of Hurricane Ridge, but may be visible from that area, depending on conditions.

For more information about fire management and fire history in Olympic National Park, people should visit the park website.

Additional information will be available tomorrow, once ground-based and additional aerial monitoring has been accomplished.

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