GOLDENDALE, Wash. — It was mostly good news the first half of today for firefighters battling the 26,074-acre Mile Marker 28 fire.
U.S. Highway 97 over Satus Pass, which had been closed for a week, reopened at noon. And, despite predictions of thunderstorms in Eastern Washington, fire officials believe they’ll have weather on their side tonight.
“They’re expecting favorable weather to be able to work real hard on it tonight,” Klickitat County director of Emergency Management Ed Powell said this afternoon.
There may be some erratic winds overnight, but crews have good containment lines around the fire, he said. And lightning, which is a threat to start new fires, wouldn’t make much of a difference either way if it struck in the middle of this one, Powell said.
The state Department of Transportation has been using a pilot car since noon to lead traffic across Satus Pass. Doing so required clearing some hazardous trees from the roadway, but it has worked as planned. Only one lane is open, meaning traffic can only move in one direction at a time, but the road is passable, he said.
“It will be a bit smokey, and there will be a travel delay,” Powell said.