Weekend rain helped, but 2 Snohomish County fires burn on

GOLD BAR — Crews continued to battle local wildfires Monday, four days after flames were spotted in a logging area northwest of Oso and three days after a second fire was discovered between Gold Bar and Index.

The weekend rain that helped firefighters gain ground against the Proctor Creek fire near Gold Bar and the Hot Shot fire near Oso was expected to end Monday morning, yielding to light wind and cool temperatures, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

Near Gold Bar, firefighters spent Sunday extending containment lines around the fire and tamping down flames just inside those boundaries. They’ve made more progress against that blaze than crews fighting the Hot Shot fire. Logs and slash on steep slopes have hindered teams near Oso, but by Monday morning they had contained the north and south edges of the fire and cut down dangerous dead trees on the west and east sides so they can establish a boundary there, as well.

A total of 345 people from 15 crews have teamed up to fight the fires.

The wildfire near Oso was spotted Thursday afternoon in an active timber harvest area. Unseasonably high temperatures and dry conditions last week enabled the fire, which grew to about 130 acres. As of 9 a.m. Monday, the fire was 50 percent contained and down to 67 acres, according to a report from incident commander Al Lawson.

On Friday, another fire was discovered on private, replanted logging land between the towns of Gold Bar and Index. That fire has burned 352 acres and was 90 percent contained by Monday morning.

Firefighters hoped to have the fire near Gold Bar pushed back to 100 feet inside of the containment area by the end of Monday. They expected they would need more time with the Oso blaze.

An evacuation shelter was set up at Sultan Middle School over the weekend. All evacuation notices have since been rescinded.

No cause has been determined for either fire.

The Department of Natural Resources has information on protecting homes against wildfires. Officials recommend clearing leaves, branches and brush from around buildings, pruning trees so branches are not near the ground or hanging over a roof and storing flammable materials in safe containers and firewood at least 100 feet from the house.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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