Bolt Creek Fire human caused, evacuation orders lifted

SKYKOMISH, Wash. (AP) — The Bolt Creek Fire burning northeast of Seattle near Skykomish was human-caused, the Western Washington Incident Management Team has confirmed.

According to authorities, the fire started Sept. 10 and as of Monday had grown to approximately 19.5 square miles (50.5 square kilometers) and was 36% contained, KING-5 reported.

It will likely take “a couple of weeks, if not months” for investigators to make an official determination of the cause, Amanda Monthei, a spokesperson for the fire management team, told The Seattle Times.

Fire managers are allowing the fire to spread naturally into the Wild Sky Wildnerness, primarily around Eagle Rock north of Skykomish, and away from most homes, campgrounds, roads and infrastructure. All evacuations were lifted over the weekend with officials asking residents to stay alert as conditions could change quickly.

U.S. Highway 2, which has been frequently closed in that area for crews to remove fire-damaged trees, was back open Monday afternoon. Officials anticipate infrequent and short closures to continue this week.

According to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the greater Seattle region was experiencing some air quality impacts Monday from wildfire smoke and that was expected to continue as the fire burns.

No rain is in the forecast this week.