Lawmakers call for additional support from USFS to prevent landslides, floods near Bolt Creek Fire

A group of lawmakers are calling on the federal government to take immediate action on the landslide risk left behind by the Bolt Creek Fire.

The fire has burned more than 14,000 acres, or nearly 22 square miles, near Skykomish.

It is 80% contained as of Friday, according to the Western Fire Chiefs Association.

Senator Maria Cantwell and Representatives Suzan Delbene and Kim Schrier are now demanding the U.S. Forest Service to begin post-burn treatments on the fire area immediately.

They wrote an open letter saying action needs to be taken now to prevent catastrophic landslides and floods.

“When we think of fires, sometimes we just think about the time when we’re all breathing in smoke and when homes are at risk, but the risk continues,” said Schrier. “Because as soon as the rains come, we have a landslide risk.”

In a letter to the head of the agency, the lawmakers point to the threat that the fire is posing for the U.S. Highway 2 corridor, especially as winter approaches.

“Nearly 23,000 acres of watershed burned and at least 47 percent of acres have a high to very-high risk of erosion hazards from the Bolt Creek Fire,” the letter reads in part. “These factors are likely to result in multiple high risk hazards throughout the US-2 corridor … that can all have consequences to our communities, culture, and economy in the Pacific Northwest.”

Over 22,000 vehicles travel on U.S. 2 every day and 3.6 million tons of cargo are hauled on the route each year, according to the letter.

The fire has led to at least seven closures of the highway in the last two months.