A wildfire has closed a 13-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail on the west side Mt. Adams in southwest Washington. The horseshoe-shaped fire is burning at 5,300 feet in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It was first spotted last Friday and has progressed significantly. The fire currently covers 250 acres.
The cause of the fire is unknown, and no structures are in danger. Approximately 170 firefighters and two helicopters are working on the fire. While originally firefighters were trying to minimize impacts in the wilderness area, the decision was recently made to directly suppress the fire. Dry lichen may be to blame for the quick spread of the fire (the state's southern snowpack is 18 percent below normal). Wind can carry the ember-filled lichen to other parts of the forest, spreading the flames to subalpine fir trees.
Divide Camp Trail No.112 in the Mt. Adams Wilderness is open and will provide a route around the fire for PCT hikers. The detour will add about 3 miles to the 2,650-mile trek.
Hiking the PCT? Check the Pacific Crest Trail Association for up-to-date trail condition and closures.