Find Posts By Topic

Sourdough Fire Updates

UPDATE August 30: State Route 20 reopens.

State Route 20 reopened between milepost 120 and milepost 171 this morning around 9:00 a.m. Travelers should plan for delays and unexpected closures. Real time data can be found here:

The Sourdough fire is currently listed as 6,221 acres and 30% contained. The Northwest Incident Management Team 8 (NWIMT8) transferred management of the fire back to North Cascades National Park Service Complex on Tuesday, August 29.

UPDATE August 27: State Route 20 closed.

State Route 20 North Cascade Highway is currently closed at Newhalem from milepost 120 to milepost 171 due to multiple wildfires in the area. There is no ETA for reopening. As WSDOT said the last few days, unexpected closures are always possible given the nature of these fires. Please do not disregard closures, they are in place for your safety and the safety of our crews and firefighters. These fires are in the area of the ongoing Blue Lake fire.

The Sourdough fire is currently listed as 6,171 acres and 25% contained.

UPDATE August 25: Sourdough fire reaches 25% containment.

The Sourdough fire group announced today that the fire had reach 6,138 acres with 25% containment. Some new fire activity has been seen along the northern and western edges of the fire but away from any structures or the public.

City Light was able to reenergize both the Ross and Diablo dams on Friday, August 18 after consulting with the fire team, conducting ground clearing activities and inspecting along transmission lines. City Light staff continues working to maintain operations and monitor infrastructure. Any further operational changes will be made through continuous system evaluation and consultation with the fire group.

State Route 20 remains open for through traffic only, with no stopping permitted. Drivers are reminded that this is an active fire area and the road is subject to closure with little advance notice. Also, the flying of drones in the area is strictly prohibited as it grounds aerial firefighting activities.

UPDATE August 23: State Route 20 North Cascades Highway is open between Newhalem (milepost 120) and Silver Star campground (milepost 171).

From 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., a pilot car will escort travelers along a 4-mile stretch of highway from Rainy Pass (milepost 158) to the Blue Lake trailhead parking lot (milepost 162) for the next few days as fire crews continue working in the vicinity of the Blue Lake fire.

People should refrain from stopping along the highway. This remains an active fire area and the road is subject to close again with little notice based on fire behavior or fire mitigation strategies. People should plan for delays and unexpected closures and should be aware they may encounter firefighting personnel and apparatus working along the highway.

UPDATE August 21: Sourdough fire to burn for many more weeks

The Sourdough Fire is currently 2,953 acres with 11% containment. Estimated time of containment is currently listed as October 1, 2023. A multiagency fire response unit with more than 300 personnel continues to coordinate and implement firefighting and containment efforts with a focus on slowing the fire spread, protecting structures and preserving public safety.

“This is far from over, and we’re doing our best to manage day-to-day operations and fire response while also looking ahead to how we will begin recovery efforts applying lessons learned and best practices.” said Mike Haynes, interim General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light. “I want to recognize the many dozens of City Light staff members from across our divisions putting in long hours to make sure that our people and infrastructure are safe and secure.” 

City Light has actively managed wildfire risk for years. This past week, we unveiled our Wildfire Risk Reduction Strategy. The strategy prioritizes minimizing potential damage through risk reduction plans that deter wildfire occurrences while also ensuring we are prepared to respond effectively and recover quickly. Its contents are being applied in real-time in the Skagit and will continue to serve us through the response and recovery period after Sourdough has been extinguished.

During the past week, crews contended with hot, dry conditions, and the fire expanded in several directions including passing over State Route 20. The fire in this area has since been extinguished, and crews are closely monitoring it for further developments. Significant effort is being made to tie the Sourdough Fire into the 2015 Goodell Creek burn scar. The maneuvering of the fire towards the previously burnt area is beneficial because it contains considerably less fuel for fire to feed on.

Two of the three dams in City Light’s Skagit Hydroelectric Project are producing only localized power. The transmission system servicing Diablo and Ross dams was once again deenergized on Saturday, August 12, out an abundance of caution to provide safe access to fire crews, our staff and safeguard infrastructure. Vegetation management and lineworker crews are busy prepping lines that run north of State Route 20 and conducting tower inspections in hopes of restoring generation in the near future. City Light staff continue working to maintain operations and monitor infrastructure so that little to no impacts of the fire will be experienced by customers. Any further operational changes will be made through continuous system evaluation and consultation with the fire group.

The State Route 20 closure has been extended due to the Blue Lake Fire that has developed in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. State Route 20 is closed between milepost 120 (Newhalem) and milepost 171 (Silver Star Campground). All Skagit Tours are suspended until further notice. National Park Service (NPS) trail, areas and camp closures are in effect. More information regarding NPS closures can be found here.

For updates on the Sourdough Mountain Fire, please visit: