Several fires in the Glacier Peak Wilderness are ongoing as of Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. The Dome Peak fire grew to more than 770 acres in recent days. (Photo provided by Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest)

Several fires in the Glacier Peak Wilderness are ongoing as of Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. The Dome Peak fire grew to more than 770 acres in recent days. (Photo provided by Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest)

Dome Peak wildfire swells to 770 acres east of Darrington

The remote fire grew rapidly, emitting heavy smoke, after being discovered in late July. No trail closures were in effect.

DARRINGTON — Weeks after it sparked, a fire burning about 30 miles east of Darrington “grew considerably” to 770 acres, spewing smoke around the region alongside other wildfires in the North Cascades.

The Dome Peak fire was first spotted July 29 and was believed to be caused by lightning in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, according to the Darrington Ranger District. It was burning in about the most isolated spot on the map in Snohomish County, near the southern terminus of a 35-mile off-trail climbing route known as the Ptarmigan Traverse. On Wednesday, no trails or roads were closed. Officials hadn’t ordered any evacuations.

The fire, just south of Dome Peak, had held steady at 30 acres or less for weeks. Rangers had been monitoring it with helicopters and cameras.

No firefighting staff was expected to respond unless it directly threatened the Pacific Crest Trail, said Kit Moffitt, deputy fire staff officer for the Forest Service. The trail was about 5 rugged miles from the flames, as the ptarmigan flies, on Wednesday. Officials expected the fire to grow significantly overnight and indefinitely into the future, with no major rain in the forecast.

Dome Peak was one of four fires in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest officials have been following near Glacier Peak, including the 400-acre Airplane Lake fire and the smaller Sulphur Lake and Chocolate Creek fires. The Airplane Lake fire was burning northwest of Lake Wenatchee, near Mt. David.

This week winds pushed most of the Cascades smoke — including a major plume from the 3,000-acre Sourdough Fire along Diablo Lake — into central and eastern Washington.

In Diablo, the Air Quality Index topped 2,150, according to fire.airnow.gov.

In Everett, the AQI was 12.

A red flag warning was in effect Wednesday for the west slopes of the north and central Cascades above 1,500 feet. Temperatures touched the 90s around Western Washington for days this week. A smoke advisory has also been issued for the Cascades. Darrington’s air quality was rated as good.

Darrington’s Fire District 24 even had an event Wednesday where they used firehoses at a local park to cool the public off.

Fire District 24 was not involved in any operations relating to the Dome Peak fire, Chief Joel Johnson said. He said conditions were ripe for fires to grow, noting the wind kicked up Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Fires in Snohomish County were limited to cooking and Forest Service campfire rings in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie. Johnson said he’s asking the public to avoid any sparks at all.

“Conditions are not great,” Johnson said. “We’re kind of asking people to abstain from having fires.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Forest Service announced a total campfire ban in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, effective Friday. Gas or propane camp stoves were still allowed, but “extreme caution is urged with any open flame.”

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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