TROUT LAKE — Fire fighters working on the 17,000-acre Cascade Creek Wildfire, burning on the south and west flanks of Mt. Adams, are watching the weather closely in anticipation of a dry cold front that will bring strong, gusty winds tonight and Tuesday.
On the far eastern perimeter, crews continue to work on hot spots near the Aiken Lava Bed. Buried wood and debris smolders deep among the lava cracks and tunnels, resisting efforts to cool and extinguish. Helicopters have been dropping buckets of water and retardant to assist the firefighters on the ground.
The next two days, with winds forecast to reach 10-20 mph with gusts to 35, weather conditions will be receiving a lot of attention, according to the Forest Service.
The fire is burning closer to lower-elevation, young, managed conifer stands that don’t contain much dead material, have crowns that shade the ground, and are unlikely to burn readily. Beyond these stands are the moist lowlands of the White Salmon River.
By using strategic burning to slowly ignite the most flammable remaining forests along the western flank, crews anticipate that even if pushed by strong winds, the fire will be unable to proceed.
In addition to moving the fire, wind increases the risk of falling trees and snags.
The fire is listed as 63 percent contained. Estimated cost to fight the blaze so far is $11.4 million.