The Goodell fire, and the upper Skagit complex fires

The Goodell Fire was sparked on August 10th, 2015 by lightning just off of highway 20, near the Seattle City Light “company town” Newhalem. By the 20th the fire was an estimated 3,180 acres, and had jumped the popular North Cascades highway, causing a landslide in its wake. 90 miles of the scenic drive had to be shut down, from Milepost 118, west of Newhalem, all the way to Milepost 204 in the Methow Valley.  Newhalem evacuated to the neighboring town of Diablo, until the Goodell Fire and neighboring fires became a threat to safety there as well. The town of Diablo had to be evacuated, and the Diablo Lake Ferry had to cease operation. All creeks and campground in the areas were evacuated and closed.This included Goodell Creek, Newhalem Creek, Colonial Creek, Gorge Lake campgrounds, the Upper and Lower Goodell campsites, and all of the Diablo Lake campsites. The Goodell boat launch was also closed, and even the remote Ross Lake Resort had to be evacuated. Authorities assisted stranded hikers, and closed all of the trails in danger. These included Newhalem Creek, Stetattle Creek, Sourdough Mountain, Ross Dam, Happy Panther, Thunder Knob, Fourth of July, Diablo Lake, Thunder Creek, the Pyramid Lake trails, and parts of the Pacific Crest Trail. The Goodell Fire was the one of many fires in the area, which were named the Upper Skagit Complex Fires. The Thursday Creek Fire (273 acres), Klawatti Fire (10 acres), Snowfield Fire (20 acres), Neve Fire (.10 acres), Cat Island Fire (.25 acres), Rocky Beaver Fire (134 acres), and a fire with no name (3 acres) all threatened the area as well. The Goodell Fire was the most menacing, two fire commanders were in power, a 20-man fire crew, 9 engines, a Seattle City Light Fire Brigade, and multiple helicopters. It took an estimated 5 days to contain, burning about 8,505 acres of land. Thanks to the tireless work of Great Basin Team 4, Incident Commander Chris Wilcox, and the fire crews involved highway 20 reopened on August 30th and local authorities were put back in charge. Scarring from the fire could be seen just a few hundred feet from the North Cascades Visitor Center doorstep and a blackened forest now bordered parts of the highway. The heroic efforts of the firefighters were very evident in Newhalem, which at one point was almost completely encircled in flame. Precious power infrastructures and homes belonging to the Seattle City Light company stood undamaged, against a charred backdrop, featuring nearby areas such as the Newhalem Creek Campground, which suffered from the fire. History was shaped during those weeks, with the damage creating educational opportunities for Park officials to teach the curious crowds of visitors on wildfire and how it traveled and shaped the mountains that August.

“This hillside is a good example of the mosaic effect of how a fire burns,”

Park Ranger Katy Hooper (