Norse Peak fire hazards cause road closures near Chinook Pass
NACHES, Wash. - Travelers who drive Chinook Pass will need to plan extra time for a new route.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) says the Norse Peak Fire closed State Route 410 east of Chinook Pass as of 3:30 p.m., August 16.
Firefighters say the fire continues to spread, reaching approximately 2040 acres, about 50 miles west of Naches as of August 24.
Recreational cabins at Union Creek and Pleasant Valley, and the Lodgepole and Pleasant Valley campgrounds remain closed due to an evacuation notice.
Crews are also working to control four smaller wildfires in the area, one is known as the American Fire, reaching 193 acres. Three other fires in Union Creek have reached over 200 acres combined.
Reports said resources and planning has suppressed fire spread in the area.
Other tasks include identifying structure protection needs for recreational residences along Hwy 410 and at Goose Prairie and Bumping Lake.
Firefighters anticipate minimal fire spread due to cooling temperatures Thursday according to updates from the shift commander.
WSDOT leaders said no one is allowed in the closure from Hells Crossing (milepost 84) to Chinook Pass (milepost 69) due to heavy smoke, and firefighters working to remove trees and other potential hazards from roadways.
[Update, August 23] Roads are expected to remain closed throughout the weekend, but are scheduled to reopen from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day from August 23 through 25 at a maximum speed of 45 mph.
Drivers from the east, will need to plan an extra half hour to their drive detour via US 12/White Pass to SR 123. Drivers from the west side can access the summit of Chinook Pass.
Those driving recreational vehicles are also discouraged of going east of Cayuse Pass.
Stopping and/or camping in this area is prohibited to ensure public and firefighter safety. A map of updated closures and evacuations can be found here.
Transportation officials estimate the closure will last over the next few days. Road updates for this incident can be found here.