INDEX — US Highway 2 could reopen by Monday as crews work to remove hundreds of trees damaged in the Bolt Creek Fire.
Arborists with Washington State Parks removed 50 to 60 burned trees on Wednesday. Work will continue until immediate dangers to the highway are mitigated, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
The goal is to have the highway reopened by Monday but WSDOT stressed it is an “evolving situation.”
Fire crews continue to deal with flare-ups close to the highway and fire-damaged trees falling on the road. A 13-mile stretch of US 2 between Index and Skykomish has been closed since the fire started Sept. 10.
A WSDOT geotechnical team was on scene Tuesday identifying fallen debris and other hazards along the highway.
The Bolt Creek Fire has burned about 10,193 acres. Incident command says about 95 percent of operational objectives are complete. Because the strategy to fight the fire does not include direct fire line tactics on the northern edge of the fire, which continues to burn in dense wilderness, incident command is reporting percentage of operational objects that have been met instead of containment.
Higher temperatures and lower humidity have caused flare-ups within the perimeter of the fire, bringing more visible smoke and flames in the area. An increase in smoke led to hazardous air quality in the Leavenworth area Wednesday morning.