WSDOT: White Pass back open in both directions
UPDATE: White Pass (SR 12) is back open in both directions, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
NACHES, Wash. — A highway connecting eastern Washington to the Cascades and the Westside seemed on track for possible reopening Monday, nearly a week after a wildfire shut it down.
The Washington State Department of Transportation said early Monday afternoon that it planned to open US 12 at 7 p.m. A couple hours later, WSDOT said “crews are progressing toward a possible evening opening, an update will be provided today at 5 p.m.” Check here for updates.
Approximately five miles of US 12 over White Pass remained closed Monday because of the Cold Creek Fire. The pass was closed three miles east of the summit near the Falls Overlook by Dog Lake.
USDA Forest Service crew members were reportedly working Monday to cut down burned trees that were deemed hazardous to drivers before WSDOT reopens the road.
Recreational, business and residential traffic is still allowed on both sides of the pass. Staff at closure points were controlling traffic.
As of Monday morning, the Cold Creek Fire was 35-percent contained at 616 acres (map). Officials say the William O. Douglas Wilderness Area is the hottest part of the fire. Helicopters were dampening hot spots Sunday.
Last week, firefighters were dealing with boulders and landslides. They had to park in the eastbound lanes of US 12 away from the mountainside so falling rocks didn’t hit their equipment.
The fire is threatening around 50 homes. There were Level-2 Evacuation Notices last week around Rimrock Lake. Yakima Valley Emergency Management is said to be evaluating the notices daily.