Cold Creek Fire

Flames from the Cold Creek Fire creep along the ground near U.S. Highway 12 at White Pass.

The Cold Creek Fire grew to 610 acres overnight Friday and firefighters established 12% containment as of Saturday morning.

U.S. Highway 12 will remain closed to through traffic this weekend due to the fire that started Monday night near White Pass. The cause is under investigation.

Gusty winds spread the fire overnight Friday and some welcome rain brought lightning, which forced firefighters and aircraft to temporarily take shelter. They returned to slow the fire's expansion to the west on the north side of the highway Saturday morning.

Boulders and burning debris are falling on the highway near White Pass, and the area around the fire is closed. Access for local and recreational traffic is allowed from the east and west sides of the highway, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The fire is burning on both sides of Highway 12, primarily on the north side after significant growth there over the past three days. The fire is along the area of Highway 12 between Dog Lake and Clear Lake.

Nearly 225 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is expected to keep moving into the wilderness to the north, northwest, west and northeast. Wind gusts of up to 15 miles per hour could test the fire lines on the East side near Indian Creek, but lower temperatures and higher humidity should help firefighters.

The fire is not threatening any structures, officials said. A Level 2 (be set) notice covers 130-150 homes around Rimrock and Clear lakes, according to the Yakima County Sheriff's Office. People should make preparations to leave. Most of the residences are cabins.

The Forest Service asked the public to stay out of the area west of Clear Lake and said roads and trails will be closed for public safety.

Highway update

Another update will be provided Monday afternoon about Highway 12, WSDOT said. The eastbound closure is 3 miles east of the summit at milepost 154 near the Clear Creek Falls overlook by Dog Lake. The westbound closure is 8 miles east of the summit near milepost 159 at Upper Tieton Road, at the west end of Rimrock Lake.

Forest Service spokesperson Heather Appelhof said rain increased the large amounts of burning material falling into the highway. WSDOT crews continue to use plows to clear the roadway, even on parts that remain open.

Sections of Forest Roads 1200, 1300, 1308 and 1382 along with trails 1104, 1105, 1106, 1108, 1109, 1111, 1142 and 1144 are also in the closure area. The Pacific Crest Trail remains open.

For more information, follow Yakima Valley Emergency Management, the Yakima County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Forest Service-Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest pages on Facebook, and Inciweb.

Reach Luke Thompson at luthompson@yakimaherald.com and on Twitter: @luketscribe

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