Olympic NP fire one for the history books

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“Fire” and “rainforest” are not often seen in combination. But conditions have been unusual in Washington state–dry and warm following an early spring with low snowpack–allowing the spread of a lightning-caused fire.

The “Paradise Fire” has burned over 1,500 acres in Olympic National Park in the Queets River drainage, making it the largest fire since the area became a national park in 1938. The fire is in a designated wilderness area which would generally mean it was allowed to burn out on its own. But, according to InciWeb, the interagency site which reports on all current fire incidents, “The decision was made to suppress this fire because of extremely dry conditions and the fact that it started so early in the fire season.”

Fightfighters got some help from rain over the weekend in confining the fire but are quick to point out that the showers will not extinguish the blaze. The “heavier fuels” (including burning logs) will continue to burn until heavier precipitation moves in. “As the weather dries and warms in the weeks ahead, we can expect these smoldering heavy fuels to resume more active burning and pose a continuing risk of fire spread. Firefighters will remain on the fire for the foreseeable future, continuing the confinement strategy,” says InciWeb.


Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.