If you’re heading to Lake Chelan soon, be prepared for smoky haze because of a wildfire burning along the upper end of the Central Washington lake, plus other fires in the area. But tourism businesses and boating are operating as usual.
A webcam at Stehekin, a remote boat-in community at the northwest end of the lake, showed smoky conditions Tuesday evening; it was less hazy at the resort community of Chelan, about 50 miles away at the other end of the lake.
With fires coming at the height of the summer vacation season, tourism authorities emphasized Tuesday afternoon that businesses are open as normal along Lake Chelan, as is commercial and recreational boating along the popular lake. The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce is posting fire/tourism updates.
However, what’s called the Moore Point Fire, about seven miles from Stehekin in rugged terrain, was pumping out smoke that drifted along Lake Chelan. The fire has burned 250 acres so far. The remote Moore Point campground (a hike-in or boat-in campground) and part of the nearby Lakeshore hiking trail have been closed because of the fire.
The Moore Point Fire was sparked by lightning on July 28; firefighters are concentrating on protecting two private homes in the area. The fire is burning both on private land and in the Lake Chelan Sawtooth Wilderness Area. Smaller fires also are burning around Lake Chelan, thanks to the extremely dry conditions and recent thunderstorms. And the major Colockum Tarps Fire, burning on 25,000 of acres south of Wenatchee near the Columbia River, also is pumping out smoke.
One of the major wildfires inpacting travel in Washington state is near Satus Pass along US 97, north of Goldendale. The highway remains closed between Goldendale and Toppenish. See the Washington State Department of Transportation’s highway alerts or phone 509-577-1617 for updates on Highway 97 Formally called the Mile Marker 28 fire. it began July 24 and has forced evacuations.