Washington Wildfires: How and Where To Hike Safely

As August winds down into September, summer days in Seattle, WA are still long but the temperatures have cooled off, making it the perfect time to get outside for one last hurrah before summer officially comes to a close. The only problem? It’s also prime wildfire season—and this year is no exception. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know by now that the biggest wildfire in Washington’s history is currently raging in the northeast part of the state.

Even so, this doesn’t mean adventurous types can’t venture into the outdoors, but you’ll have to do a little more planning to avoid the fire zones. The first thing to be aware of is which areas of Washington are blazing; it’s generally a good idea to keep healthy distance from these areas, both for your own safety and to stay out of the way of fire-fighting operations that are already stretched thin.

The biggest burn right now is a group of fires near the North Cascades known as the Okanogan Complex, which started on August 15. 2015 and currently covers more than 280,000 acres. Among others, there are also large fires in Chelan, near the Colville Indian Reservation, and the Umatilla National Forest near Walla Walla.

Here, the rundown on the Washington wildfires, plus resources and tips to help you figure out where to go and how to stay safe on your end-of-summer outdoor excursions in Seattle and beyond.


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