Smoke darkens base area at Crystal Mountain (Crystal Mountain Resort)
A rapidly expanding forest fire has forced the evacuation and closure of Crystal Mountain facilities, and fire fighters remained in place Monday (Sept. 11) to protect any structures.
The Norse Peak Fire has grown to 50,000 acres after it started on Aug. 11 as one of 13 lightning-ignited fires in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest just northeast of Mount Rainier. Fortunately for Crystal Mountain, the bulk of the fire is burning on the east side of the Pacific Crest Trail, but fire officials ordered anyone living or working in or around Crystal Mountain to leave several days ago.
As of Monday the fire, which is actually two fires under the Norse Peak label, was only 12 percent contained. Fire officials report 603 firefighters in 13 crews, 36 engines, four helicopters, three bulldozers, and 10 water tenders on hand. Inciweb reports that the fire continues to creep toward structures, so firefighters on foot continue to patrol the Crystal Mountain and Gold Hill areas to extinguish hot spots.
“The fire on our side of the ridge is mostly contained and as long as things continue to improve we hope to reopen Thursday or Friday to finish out the season,” resort officials posted on the website. “Stay tuned for an announcement in the next day or two.”