McAllister Creek Fire: More Area Closures Announced by National Park Service

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)

Last month, a region in Washington State’s North Cascades National Park went up in flames after multiple lightning strikes ignited a still-burining wildfire. Officials deemed the blaze the McAllister Creek Fire. Since breaking out around September 12th, the fire has reportedly scorched more than 1,500 acres. Unfortunately, weekend weather isn’t promising favorable firefighting conditions for firefighters. As the McAllister Creek Fire continues to burn, the National Park Service has made further announcements about park closures.

Further Closures Join Already In-Effect Closures

As of Saturday, October 15th, the NPS has closed the portion of Thunder Creek Trail from the trailhead to Neve Camp, Panther Creek Trail from the trailhead to Neve Camp, and Thunder Knob Trail, all due to wildfire activity. Officials have also issued multiple camp closures. These include Thunder, Neve, Fourth of July, and Panther camps. The McAllister Creek Fire has also affected boat-in campsites along Diablo Lake including Thunder Point, Hidden Cove, and Buster Brown.

More broadly, the NPS has also closed all areas within the Colonial Creek North and South campgrounds. This includes day-use areas, picnic areas, boat launches, and walk-in campsites. Beach areas along Highway 20 on Diablo Lake are seeing NPS closures as well.

Overall, the newest closures in Thunder drainage area combine with the trail and camp closures already in effect. Park visitors heading to North Cascades should consult the NPS’s current trail conditions before making the trip.

According to the NPS website, the McAllister Creek Fire promises to pose a challenge to firefighters over the weekend. Per the outlet, officials are expecting potential rapid fire movement, especially in the Thunder Drainage area as easterly winds combine with record-breaking temperatures and low relative humidity.

The recent McAllister Creek Fire-induced closures have joined with, rather than replaced, the majority of the NPS’s earlier closures.

Officials Warn Washington Residents About Smoke Danger From McAllister Creek Fire

The McAllister Creek Fire continues to pose a problem for firefighters as weather conditions near North Cascades National Park only seem to fuel the wildfire rather than aid in extinguishing it. However, another severe problem, also fueled by the McAllister Creek Fire, has begun to affect Washington residents in the immediate area.

With hot, dry conditions lending zero help to wildland firefighters, smoke from the blaze is wreaking havoc on local regions. According to the NPS’s website, smoke from the fire is to be expected “until a season-ending event.”

Officials have warned Washington residents to be cautious “when recreating outdoors” in addition to keeping a close eye on potentially increasing wildfire activity.

The McAllister Creek Fire is just one of the handfuls of wildfires that have scorched the West this season, with worsening climate change the likeliest of culprits behind these intensifying blazes.