Goat Rocks Wilderness Fire Grows to 80 Acres; Conditions Expected to Worsen


The Goat Rocks Wilderness Fire roughly 7 miles northeast of Packwood has grown to 80 acres. 

While fire activity has been subdued since the fire grew in size Friday and Saturday, officials with the U.S. Forest Service are expecting conditions to worsen in the days ahead.

“Fire behavior over the next few days is anticipated to be moderate due to greater moisture recovery at night and cloud cover early in the day,” according to a news release from the Forest Service. “Weather is expected later this week that could result in additional fire growth.”

On Sunday and Monday, fire activity had been subdued. High humidity and cloud cover on Saturday slowed the fire's spread.

On Saturday, Sept. 2, the fire spread into the headwaters of Dam and Lava creeks. 

As a result, a closure order has been put in place for Forest Road 4612 and trail #65 leading to Bluff Lake. 

The fire, thought to be caused by lightning, was found Aug. 9 about 7 miles northeast of Packwood on the north end of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Initially, a crew of six firefighters rappelled from helicopters into the fire and worked to contain the fire with the help of helicopter water drops. Firefighters were able to work 60% of the fire. The remaining 40% of the fire, located in steep, rocky terrain, has been unsafe to put firefighters into. Since then, fire personnel had been checking the fire daily with minimal growth and little smoke visible, according to the Forest Service. 

Smoke from the fire remains highly visible from U.S. Highway 12 and Packwood. The public is being asked to not park their vehicles in a moving lane of traffic to observe the fire. Currently, the greatest risk to the public is distracted drivers stopping to observe the fire, according to the Forest Service.

A public information meeting has been scheduled for 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Packwood Community Hall, 12935 U.S. Highway 12, Packwood. Attendees will hear from the Goat Rocks Fire incident command team about the the current situation. There will be a question and answer session to follow. 

Those with questions should call 360-891-5014.

Due to high fire danger fire, restrictions are currently in place on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and within Lewis County.

For updates visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/giffordpinchot/alerts-notices.