A more robust national level response team (Type 2 Northwest Incident Management Team 10) is now handling the Sourdough Fire, having taken over from a state level team (Type 3 Southern Area Incident Management Team) Monday.

The fire is burning 1,440 acres just south of State Route 20 North Cascades Hwy., which has led to the roadway being indefinitely closed.

Response team spokesperson Daniel Omdal says the status of the highway is being looked at, with personnel from the fire response team and WSDOT considering options such opening the highway to a single lane of traffic with a pilot car.

SR 20 is currently closed along a 36 mile stretch between Newhalem to Rainy Pass.

The fire has moved downslope and in some spots is reaching land next to the roadway, raising concerns about the highway

The fire is burning in a mountainous area and is largely inaccessible to crews because of steep slopes, rolling debris and fire-weakened trees around most of the fire area.

Helicopters are playing a major role in battling the fire by delivering equipment to crews in areas not served by roads and making bucket drops on the fire’s most active areas.

Omdal says crews will continue to focus on protecting at risk buildings and infrastructure using a process known as plumbing to install hose lays around the close by Environmental Learning Center, Buster Brown Campground and Ross Lake Resort.

The installation provides water supplies for protective sprinkler systems in the event of the fire’s spread.

Helicopters will be available for bucket drops to help protect the buildings and infrastructure

Firefighters will also continue clearing brush along Highway 20 and near powerlines.

A total of 340 personnel is working the fire, including six Hand Crews. There are 22 fire engines assigned to the fire along with five water trucks. Four helicopters are also in use.

It's possible smoke from the Sourdough Fire may affect communities around the region.

The fire started with a lightning strike on July 29.

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