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North Cascades Highway closed due to increased Whatcom wildfire activity

DIABLO, Wash. — Changes in wind direction resulted in significantly increased wildfire activity at the Sourdough Fire near Lake Diablo in southeast Whatcom County today, Friday, August 4th.

Officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation announced the North Cascades Highway (SR20) would be closed in both directions at 10pm tonight as a result.

The approximately 35-mile closure will be between Nehalem (milepost 120) to Rainy Day Pass (milepost 156) and will remain closed until further notice. Drivers will need to use Steven’s Pass (SR2) or Snoqualmie Pass (I-90) to reach destinations east of the Cascades.

At 3:00 PM, the fire inversion lifted, which caused an increase in fire activity (and growth) approximately one hour later. The fire growth included westward to along Stetattle Creek, upslope towards Bucket Creek, and crossing Stetattle Creek; eastward towards Sourdough Creek and Sourdough Creek drainage, and northward towards the top of Sourdough Mountain. Southern Area Gray Incident Management Team via Inciweb (August 4, 2023)

The size of the fire grew from over 500 to nearly 3,000 acres.

The smoke from the increased fire activity was visible for miles resulting in numerous calls to 911 dispatchers. The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office asked citizens not to call 911 about the smoke sightings.

Sourdough Fire operations briefing (August 4, 2023)
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