WSDOT reopens US 2 as Bolt Creek Fire continues to burn; speed limit reduced

US Highway 2 was shut down on and off as the Bolt Creek Fire got closer to the highway earlier this week.

The closure was between Northeast Old Cascade Highway and Skykomish (mileposts 46 to 50). 

That stretch of US 2 reopened on Thursday evening. 

Officials said evacuation levels for the Bolt Creek Fire have not changed. Over the weekend, Level 2 (get ready to leave) evacuation notices were issued for parts of Skykomish. 

Crews said Wednesday that the fire was around 12% contained.

The cleanup operation

Some of the trees that have fallen due to the Bolt Creek fire are massive.

FOX 13 News caught up with a crew that was clearing a tree that fell over US 2 at around 1 pm Tuesday near the Money Creek Campground.

"Hopefully everybody is safe. Unexpected, the winds are picking up," said Mike Weitzel, a resident of Richland.

He had made a delivery in Bellingham and was heading back to Richland when he ran into the roadblock near the campground on US 2. He said he would likely have to do a three-hour detour to get back home through Snoqualmie Pass.

"Kind of wild with this big of tree coming down," said Mike. "Especially in the middle of the night, that would be scary."

"Highway 2 is closed because of trees that came down last night," said spokesperson Lauren Woras. "That’s between the tunnel at Money Creek all the way to the ranger station outside of Skykomish."

She says the fire has been on the move due to higher temperatures and wind conditions, but she says it is a slow-moving fire.

"The fire did travel along Beckler Road and reached the road, which is where one of our main control lines is," said Woras, "it has not crossed the road."

Lauren says falling trees, rocks and debris could be an issue in that area for a couple of years due to the Bolt Creek Fire.

"I expect it to close again, and again and again," said Mark Klein, Espresso Chalet owner.

He says when the fire first broke out, the skies near his business were yellow and filled with ash. While the skies have cleared up a bit in his area near Index and Baring, his business is still being impacted.

"From a business standpoint we are 1/25th of what we used to be. But, the main thing is to get the fire put out, make sure we don’t damage a lot of things or buildings and people stay safe," said Klein.

Transportation officials will reassess Tuesday morning.