Fires Flow Across the Central Cascades, and the West

The Jolly Mountain Fire, ignited on Aug. 11 from lightning strikes in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest northeast of Lake Cle Elum. It’s one of dozens of fires burning across the west this season.

The fire has spread threatening the communities of Ronald, Roslyn and Cle Elum.

The Jolly Mountain Fire burns in an area near Roslyn, Ronald and Cle Elum. Photo by Brian Mize/TNC.

Evacuation Notices

Evacuation notices come as: Level 1 – Ready; Level 2 - Set; Level 3 - Go. Learn about the "5 P's" of evacuation: people (and pets), papers, prescriptions; pictures; personal computers.

Community residents in Ronald and Roslyn, including some of our own staff, have had to pack their family and pets, important papers, prescriptions, pictures and personal computers, preparing to evacuate. Others, including some communities on the Teanaway River north of Ronald evacuated.

The Cle Elum Ridge section of our Central Cascades managed forests lies between these communities, the Teanaway Community Forest and the national forest. Fire spread across our lands, and in cooperation with the Forest Service and the state Department of Natural Resources, we closed all our lands on Cle Elum Ridge to public access.

A view of smoke from the Jolly Mountain fire from the town of Roslyn. Photo by Darcy Batura/TNC.

Hundreds of firefighters from near and far have battled this fire Scooper planes pick up water out of Lake Cle Elum to drop on the fire. Fire teams set up fire lines, clear brush and sett backburns on our lands as well as other lands in the area to better enable them to stop the fire growth.

Farther south off Highway 410, the Norse Peak Fire also ignited on Aug. 11, also from lightning strikes. It spread to more than 45,000 acres. Crystal Mountain was  evacuated, and the Pacific Crest Trail from Chinook Pass to Snoqualmie Pass closed. The Conservancy also manages land in this region, in the Little Naches portion of the Central Cascades.

Meanwhile, more fires burn across Washington. Oregon’s Eagle Creek Fire spotted across the Columbia River into Washington. The Diamond Creek Fire, burning in the Pasayten Wilderness crossed over the border into Canada. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency  for all of Washington, and the state Department of Natural Resources declared a burn ban for the whole state.

Smoke fills the town of Roslyn. Photo by John Marshall.

Our first concern always is the safety of people, including our staff, community members and firefighters.

We’re grateful for the firefighters from a multitude of agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Forest Service, who’ve come to fight these fires across Washington, including the Jolly Mountain and Norse Peak fires.

We’re grateful that the governor is making the fires a priority and seeing that resources are available to help.

We’re grateful for communities pulling together and individuals working to support best outcomes in the face of these fires

When the fires are out, we know we’ll return together to the work of restoring these forests to protect clean water, preserve wildlife habitat and to continue to be a place where we all love to work and play.