Air quality back to normal, but fires continue to burn near Darrington

The Boulder Lake, Lake Toketie and Suiattle River fires have been burning in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest since mid-August.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118

DARRINGTON — Air quality in and around Darrington has returned to normal after cooler, wetter weather helped calm three lightning-caused wildfires burning in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The Boulder Lake, Lake Toketie and Suiattle River fires have been burning in the National Forest northeast of Darrington since mid-August. The Boulder Lake fire was last reported to be 400 acres, while the Lake Toketie and Suiattle River fires were last measured at about 90 and 15 acres, respectively.

On Sunday, “Idaho Team 1” took over fire management from local fire personnel. Crews began to assess options to contain the Suiattle River fire, burning beneath Huckleberry Mountain and Hurricane Peak. The steep terrain is too dangerous for crews to fight the fire on the ground, according to a U.S. Forest Service news release. Crews will continue bucket drops from a helicopter.

The fires have “thankfully” stayed in federal lands at least several miles away from populated areas, Interim Darrington Fire Chief Drew Bono said.

There are some seasonal cabins near the Suiattle River fire, Bono said. Fire crews are working to protect those homes and keep the fire contained north of Suiattle River Road, east of Grade Creek Road and west of the Buck Creek Drainage, according to the Forest Service.

A Level 1 “Be Ready” Evacuation Notice was issued last week for that area, which includes the Lower Suiattle Valley, north of the Suiattle River. The alert means residents should be ready to leave: “There is no immediate danger to your home, family or business, but the fire or other danger may be moving toward you.”

Trails, roads and campgrounds near the fires remain closed. That includes Suiattle River Road (Forest Road 26) at the 10.5 mile marker, Buck Creek campground, the Boulder Lake trail, the Huckleberry Mountain trail, the Buck Creek trail, the Green Mountain trail, the Downey Creek trail, the Suiattle River trail, the Sulphur Creek trail, the Sulphur Mountain trail and the Tenas Creek trail.

Contact the Darrington Ranger Station at 360-436-1155 for updated trail and road closures, or check the Forest Service’s website.

If you’re considering coming to Darrington to recreate in the beautiful public lands this weekend, Bono said, make sure you’re not impeding firefighting efforts and putting yourself at risk.

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