8:45 a.m. PDT Sept. 13, 2022
The two hikers who found themselves nearly entrapped by the rapidly spreading Bolt Creek Fire in northwest Washington near Skykomish have posted a video describing how they escaped.
After nearly reaching their goal of the top of Baring Mountain on Saturday September 10, they realized the smoke noticed earlier was from a fire that started that morning and had become a threat to their lives. The two of them shot video off and on during the entire hike, and on Sunday “Path Least Taken” posted an expertly-edited version on YouTube. He explained that he debated about publishing it, but did so “as an educational tool to point out all of the mistakes we made that ended up putting our lives in danger.”
During the escape they used wayfaring skills and technology tools to figure out how to descend the very steep slopes while avoiding the fire, which was at times exhibiting extreme flame lengths many times the heights of the trees, as you can see in the above image from their video.
When the Bolt Creek Fire was mapped Monday evening it had burned about 9,400 acres. In several places it has spread downhill nearly to US Highway 2. The fire activity was very much diminished Monday by much higher relative humidity. A weather station at Index northwest of the fire recorded very light winds Monday with the RH ranging from 57 to 92 percent, conditions not conducive to rapid fire spread.
“It’s been a good day today for firefighters,” said Jim Cahill, a Washington State Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Monday evening.
As of Monday night US Highway 2 was closed from Milepost 32 to Milepost 50 and the community of Index was under a “Go Now” evacuation order.
The spot weather forecast for Tuesday predicts temperatures around 60 degrees, minimum RH of 87 percent, and light winds becoming 5 to 6 mph in the afternoon out of the northwest. Tuesday night the RH will rise to 100 percent and drop to only 86 percent on Wednesday. On Monday and Tuesday there is a 13 to 16 percent chance of very light rain, about 0.03″. The humidity is expected to remain mostly in the 80s and 90s through Sunday. The fire will not spread rapidly under these predicted conditions.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Patrick.