SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — The Bolt Creek Fire, which started north of Skykomish on early Saturday morning, has grown to approximately 7,600 acres as of Sunday morning, according to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
A Level 3 evacuation—meaning to leave now—has been issued for residents of Index, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Sky Valley Fire. The evacuation order is also in place from Skykomish to Index north of Highway 2.
There is also a Level 2 evacuation in place for residents between Index and Zeke’s Drive In, which is located just east of Gold Bar on Highway 2. This is an evacuation warning or notice and residents in this area should prepare for a high probability of a need to evacuate.
A Level 1 evacuation — meaning to be aware of the danger in the area and to start preparing for evacuation — is in place from Zeke’s Drive In west to Gold Bar city limits.
Only about 50% of residents in evacuation areas in Snohomish County have left the area as of Sunday morning, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Red Cross Northwest announced just before 6:30 pm Saturday that it opened a shelter at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe.
Donations of bedding for evacuated livestock will be accepted on Sunday and Monday from 3 pm to 5 pm at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds Dairy Barn. Food and grain are not needed at this time, according to Snohomish County.
State fire assistance has been mobilized to support local firefighters working to contain the Bolt Creek Fire, according to the State Fire Marshal’s office.
The fire is currently very active and wind conditions are making it difficult for crews to extinguish the flames, according to officials with Sky Valley Fire.
There are about 250 structures directly threatened by the fire as of 6 am Sunday, according to officials with Sky Valley Fire.
Structural protections are in place around the communities of Grotto and Baring and fire lines are being built to protect the town of Index.
The fire started at about 5:15 am Saturday in a clearing north of Skykomish and is now moving west.
“A large wildfire along the north side of US 2 from just outside Skykomish to Baring is threatening homes. Residents of the area should be ready to evacuate with little notice,” said King County officials in a tweet posted just after 10 am Saturday. “If residents along US 2 between MP 35 and 47 have not been notified by authorities to evacuate, be ready to leave. Local law enforcement is going door-to-door to notify residents.”
Washington State Patrol troopers are assisting deputies with the Snohomish County and King County sheriff’s departments in evacuating these areas.
Highway 2 is closed from milepost 31.7, approximately 2 miles east of Gold Bar, to milepost 49, at the east end of Skykomish, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The roadway is expected to be closed through the weekend, but will remain open for people who are evacuating.
Drivers are advised to turn around well ahead of the closures and expect heavier traffic than usual on other cross-state highways, including Interstate 90 and State Route 20, during the wildfire response.
Smoke and ash from the fire are blowing westward toward Snohomish and King counties. All counties in Washington are currently under some form of burn ban, with windy conditions and warm weather raising fire concerns.
This is a developing story.
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