** Update: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 6:30PM – An incident report given to the City Of Snoqualmie today regarding the Mount Si fire stated that the DNR expected the overall operation in fighting the fire would be demobilized sometime Wednesday, July 31st. The fire is 95% contained. **
** Update: Monday, July 29th, 3:15PM – Washington State DNR says the 444th fire is still at 18 acres and 75% contained now. The Mt. Si trail system still remains closed until further notice. **
Sunday, July 28, 2013, marked day three of the Mt. Si wildfire, now called 444th Fire – named for the location where the fire originated – on 444th Ave SE and Mt. Si Road , near the Little Si trailhead.
The fire was reported around noon on Friday, July 26, 2013, and by the end of day one it was estimated to be around 3-5 acres, with a good hose line around it. But overnight Friday, and fueled by breezy conditions, the fire grew to 10 acres – spreading uphill and westward into the steep, rugged terrain of Mt. Si.
Saturday, July 27, 2013 saw two helicopters working to cool the land in the fire’s path. Calming winds and cooler, humid overnight weather helped slow the fire… but it still increased to 18 acres by Sunday, July 28, 2013.
The fire could be seen from Snoqualmie Ridge and the lingering smoke smell filled the air on Sunday, but progress was made. By 7PM on July 28th, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported the 444th fire, even though increased in acreage, was 50% contained.
Cooler daytimes temperatures, as well as cooler overnight weather, could further help in the battle to fully contain the fire burning near some North Bend homes.
According to Michael William, longtime Mt. Si Road resident living near the fire, on Saturday there were 60 firefighters on scene using pulaskis and shovels to cut a two foot fire line around the wildfire.
Williams said the smoke is now “mostly confined to the burning of old fallen tree logs and duff (accumulated evergreen needles,moss and fallen small branches) inside the fire line.”
He added that tonight (Sunday) there will be three DNR personnel monitoring the fire using headlamps for illumination – and that barring any heavy wind, the fire should stay confined inside the fire line.
Washington DNR should report when the fire is completely contained and when mop up begins.
Mopping up a wildfire involves a lot of waiting for forest debris to quit smoking; making sure no embers cross the fire line and restart the flames.
Officals say the cause of the Mt. Si fire was human. On Saturday, July 27th, the popular Mt Si trail hiking system was closed until further notice.