Parks Fire burns from Washington into British Columbia

Multiple fires close to the Pacific Crest Trail lead to closure of its northern terminus

2:10 p.m. PDT Sept. 3, 2022

Parks Fire map Washington British Columbia
Parks Fire map 3:02 a.m. PDT Sept. 3, 2022.

The spread of numerous fires have led to the closure of the northernmost portion of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) including its terminus at the Canadian border. Most northbound hikers finish in August or September, so it is likely that quite a few will be devastated that they can’t complete the entire 2,650-mile journey.

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest posted the following message on Facebook September 1:

Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Closure:
Due to increased fire activity and growth, the Kid Fire is now about three miles from the PCT. With the Red Flag Warning in effect through tomorrow evening, we have closed the northern section of the PCT from Holman Pass North (at the junction with Trail #752 and Trail #472.1) to the Canadian Border. Wilderness Rangers are on the PCT near Hopkins Lake basin and Forest Service staff at Harts Pass Guard Station are helping direct hikers and providing information. There is no re-route at this time. Please stay tuned for more information.

Since that message was posted the Parks Fire has grown very rapidly into Canada. We were unable to find any public details posted by the US Forest Service about it and other fires in the area, but we estimate it has burned at least 5,000 acres. It is the largest near the northern terminus of the PCT between mileposts 2,637 and 2,652. To the west are the Three Fools, Skagit, Elbow, and Shull Creek Fires. The Parks and Kid Fires are east of the trail.

We have counted 9 fires in Washington that are within 11 miles of the international border.

Parks Fire Washington and British Columbia
Parks Fire. Posted Sept. 2 by USFS.

The Parks Fire has spread four miles north of the border and early Saturday morning was a mile or two east of Manning Park, BC just south of BC Highway 3.

None of these fires, including the 5,000+ acre Parks Fire, were listed on Inciweb, the National Situation Report, or the Northwest Geographic Area’s public Morning Brief or Detailed Situation Report when we published this article just after 2 p.m. PDT Sept. 3, 2022.

Fires near the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail,
Fires near the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail, September 3, 2022. The purple line is the PCT.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

17 thoughts on “Parks Fire burns from Washington into British Columbia”

  1. The Parks Fire burned around the Monument 83 Lookout structures on Sept 17. Here’s a link to a Photo from Insiweb. You can see Pasayten Pete’s wooden grave marker wrapped in foil just to the right of the lookout tower. It reads “Pasayten Pete, shot by L. E. Lael, 26-8-61. The copula lookout was built on the Canadian side and the tower is about 2 inches inside the U.S. It looks like Pete is burried in Canada. Pete was a Forest Service Mule that was shot by the FS Packer L. E. Lael because he broke a leg here. You can read a short note about the Copula Lookout being built in Canada by the US Forest Service in 1930 here

  2. Update: The fires impacting the PCT in the OWF have been combined into the new “NW Pasayten Complex” and the NIMO is now managing it as well as the Chilliwack Complex in NCNP, per today’s NWCC Morning Brief:

    Chilliwack Complex. WA-NCP-000339. NIMO Team 2. 33 mi NW of Concrete, WA. Start 8/25. Other than Full
    Suppression. Cause: Unknown. 3,694 acres. 0% containment. Minimal fire behavior. Timber. The complex includes 11 fires in the North Cascades National Park. Limited information available.

    NW Pasayten. WA-PSC-000339. NIMO Team 2. 56 mi NE of Concrete, WA. Start 9/6. Other than Full Suppression. Cause: Unknown. 8,877 acres. 0% containment. Minimal fire behavior. Timber. The complex includes 5 fires on the Mt Baker Snoqualmie NF managed by the Okanogan NF. Limited information available.

  3. There are two sets of fires burning in the Cascades of far northern WA State. The westernmost set, the Chilliwack Complex, is wholly within North Cascades National Park, and NIMO Team 2 is now assigned to same per today’s NWCC Morning Briefing. The other set, east of Ross Lake in the Pasayten Wilderness (Okanogan-Wenatchee NF) is the one impacting several trail networks including the Pacific Crest Trail. One of these fires has extended well into Canada. It does not appear that the NIMO will manage this set, as they are many miles east and well outside of the park. Hundreds of northbound PCT thru-hikers will be impacted by the trail closure north of Hart’s Pass over the coming weeks, and the one very rough road into the Hart’s Pass area has been impacted by a large debris flow.
    The road has been partially reopened since this alert was posted.
    Here is the latest fire summary (already a week old):
    Bill is correct in noticing a dearth of information about these fires- they are all in very remote, rugged wilderness, and I suspect that if it weren’t for the PCT and international border impacts, they would be entirely off of the radar.

    1. Tom, there are several fires in North Cascades NP, such as the Copper Lake and Brush Creek Fires, that comprise the Chilliwack Complex. But there are half a dozen others 30 miles to the east that are in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, including the Parks Fire that burned across the border close to Manning Park in British Columbia which is more than 5,000 acres. In BC it is known as Fire Number V11746.

  4. On Aug 15 my wife and I talked with a PCT hiker at the summit of Naches Pass (Naches Trail). He had started in Southern California near the Mexico Border. As of yesterday Sept 2 that’s 18 days ago. I found an online calculator of PCT distance between points. Its 284 miles from there to the border. That’s 15.8 miles per day. I hope he made it.

    1. Tom: Do you remember the hiker’s trail name? My son is on the trail as well and was just about 7 days short of making into the Northern Terminus. Now he and his group will stop at Heart’s Pass. So. maybe my son knows the hiker that you met.

      1. ktbbmom, The hiker we talked with said his trail name is Beattle. he let us take a photo of him standing on the trail at the summit of Naches Pass.


Comments are closed.