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caption: Smoke from the Bolt Creek fire lingers over Skykomish, Wash. Sept. 30, 2022. 
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Smoke from the Bolt Creek fire lingers over Skykomish, Wash. Sept. 30, 2022.
Credit: John O'Brien / KUOW

Bolt Creek fire continues to burn past 'contained' confusion

Drivers along Highway 2 and residents around Skykomish are still being affected by the Bolt Creek fire, despite recent confusion over the status of the wildfire and how much of it is "contained."

At one point, reports stated that the Bolt Creek fire was 97% contained. This week, that number went down to 13%. Current reports state that the fire is 28% contained. Incident Commander Kent Stanford says a change in management teams is to blame for the confusion.

"The prior team had a strategy of confinement," Stanford said. "What they were trying to relay with the 97% was 97% of that work was done to confine the fire to a certain geographic area."

Stanford says the fire continues to spread within that confinement area, mostly to the north. He adds that the only thing that will significantly knock down the fire is substantial rainfall, which is not expected any time soon.

The fire has frequently shut down Highway 2 through the area. Crews have been working to remove trees that are at risk of falling onto the highway. Firefighters are asking drivers to slow down in the area as they work.

According to a status update on the Bolt Creek fire sore Sept. 30, 2022:

"Fire resources, utility crews and WSDOT finalized work along the US 2 closure area on Thursday and the road was reopened on Thursday evening. Two days of moderated fire conditions contributed to mostly minimal fire spread from Wednesday through Thursday night, though the fire has continued to burn up to containment lines on the west, south and east edges of the fire. Very few pockets of unburned vegetation remain along the road, and most of the fire’s continued spread will be to the north and into the Wild Sky Wilderness area. Humidities will remain relatively high through the next week of sunny weather, which should help to moderate future fire spread. Fire resources will continue to monitor and reinforce firelines today and through the weekend."