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Blue Lake Fire spreads north of Hwy 20 in 'slopover' of strategic burnout

In its first week, the Blue Lake Fire grew slowly - it was just 290 acres after burning for eight days - but it has nearly doubled in size since Friday, after strategic firing operations used to burn vegetation in the fire's path to keep it from spreading ignited a spot fire on the north side of the North Cascades Highway on Saturday (Aug. 26).

As of Tuesday (Aug. 29), the fire, burning west of Washington Pass near Bridge Creek, was 1,056 acres, about one-fourth of that north of the roadway. The fire, which started on Aug. 14, was 31% contained as of Tuesday.

In its first week and a half, the fire was "creeping around" south of the highway, U.S. Forest Service Public Information Officer Austin Gonzagowski told the Methow Valley News. Fire managers decided to burn out trees and vegetation to mitigate the threat that the fire would move closer to the highway, but in the cool and damp conditions last week, fuels weren't very receptive, he said.

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