Wildfire closes North Cascades Highway west of Winthrop

Screen shot from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) InciWeb

A wildfire has closed the scenic North Cascades Highway, the most northern route through the Cascade Range in Washington state.

The state Department of Transportation on Monday morning closed State Route 20 west of the town of Winthrop, between mileposts 170 and 177.

The highway is popular among tourists in the summer months, linking the Methow Valley with western Washington. The road provides access to North Cascades National Park and the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. It is closed much of the winter because of snow.

Meanwhile, a lightning-caused wildfire burning mostly in Asotin County in southeastern Washington grew to more than 85.9 square miles (222.4 square kilometers) Monday and was only 20 percent contained.

The Dry Gulch Fire was being fought by 536 firefighters as it burned through timber and grass in a remote area of the Umatilla National Forest about 15 miles southeast of the town of Pomeroy. It’s predicted to be contained on July 31.

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