Wildfires Lead to Closure of Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail is closed in it's northern section of the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest because of wildfires.
There are nine fires burning in the Pasayten Wilderness Area, which has led to the closure of the trail from Holman Pass north to the Canadian border.
Robin DeMario with the U.S. Forest Service says the trail is popular with hikers who could be frustrated with the closure.
"This time of year it's not uncommon for many of them to be on the trail right now to attempt to complete their trek on the Pacific Crest Trail," said Demario.
Hikers will often begin their journey of the trail, which starts in Southern California, much earlier in the year with the expectation they'll reach its northern edge at the Canadian border before winter storms set in.
The agency has released a statement expressing an apology to hikers who planned to reach the Pacific Crest Trail's northern end point.
"Reaching the Northern Terminus of the PCT is monumentally important to so many," the statement reads. "We understand that this is a huge impact on people’s plans. We’re so sorry."
The Forest Service is hoping to have a more clear picture of the state of the fires after a flyover of the area planned for Wednesday.
The wildfires started after an August 11 lightning storm that caused the start of other fires, including the White River and Irving Peak Fires in Chelan County north and west of Plain.
There are 12 fires in all of the northern portion of the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest, with nine in the Pasayten Wilderness Area.
DeMario says they vary in size. "These fires in the wilderness range in size from a tenth of an acre, to an acre, to four acres, to 100 acres, and I think the largest one is the fire that has burned over the border into Canada," DeMario said. "And they're estimating that at more than a thousand acres."
The fires are also contributing to smoke which is hovering over the Methow Valley, affecting the towns of Winthrop and Twisp.