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UPDATE: State Route 20 remains closed as Sourdough wildfire stands at 1,397 acres

Fire is smaller than previously believed, emergency responders said

The Sourdough Fire near Diablo has closed State Route 20
The Sourdough Fire near Diablo has closed State Route 20
By Julia Lerner Staff Reporter

State Route 20, the North Cascades Highway, remains closed Sunday, Aug. 6, with no estimated time of reopening, because of the Sourdough Fire near Diablo.

Fire personnel, including three helicopters, will continue to slow the spread with water drops as they identify more containment lines. Despite a chance of showers throughout Sunday, there is no expectation weather will slow the fire.

The fire stands at 1,397 acres, smaller than previously believed by emergency responders. On Friday night, emergency crews reported the fire was close to 3,000 acres. However, more accurate mapping Saturday, Aug. 5 showed additional details, said Margie Ferrucci, the public information officer for the Southern Area Gray Incident Management Team.

photo  The fire now stands at 1,397 acres, smaller than previously believed by emergency responders. (Map courtesy of National Wildfire Coordinating Group)  

The Northwest Team 10 Incident Management Team will take command of the fire Monday morning, Aug. 7.

The fire continues to threaten several structures, including the Diablo community, the Environmental Learning Center and Diablo Dam — the structure that provides 30%–40% of Seattle’s electricity.

Even so, Ferrucci said Saturday the structure protection is “looking good.”

Preparation for the fire, including structure protection efforts around the historic Sourdough Lookout and around the town of Diablo, were “implemented successfully,” according to the Saturday release. 

Emergency crews closed the popular summertime travel route between mile markers 120 and 156, from Newhalem to Rainy Pass, at 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4, as the fire quadrupled in size under hot, dry conditions.

Nearby Ross Lake Resort, a floating structure behind Ross Dam, was evacuated Thursday, Aug. 3, after the site lost power, and a number of trails and campgrounds in the area remain closed. Transportation officials advised motorists to check for updates on the WSDOT phone app.

Over the next few days, the National Weather Service anticipates temperatures to fall slightly in the region, with an increase in moisture levels, the office said Saturday. Additionally, thunderstorm activity in the North Cascades could mean lighting strikes and the potential for more fire activity. 

This story will be updated as additional information is made available. 

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