Olympic Mountains Drought and Fire Danger

This year has been a very dry season in the Olympic Mountains.  A light winter has left the higher elevations free from snow most of the cold months.  We had big storms, but the warmer temperatures allowed for it to fall as heavy rain.

Record low snowpack already has the drying rivers, looking like the end of summer; not the beginning.  This may lead to irregular fish migrations, up and down the river valleys.   I hope we get periods of rainfall to lesson the drought. On top of this the Olympic Peninsula has received record low rainfall levels for May/June since recorded history started over a 100 years ago.

All of this has left the forest very dry.  The Queets Paradise Fire in the interior of the Park, is testament of how dry it is in the backcountry, authorities refer to it as a "500 year fire".   There has since been a campfire burn back thought all Olympic National Park and most of Washington State. Please be considerate and go stove-less in the mountains this summer.

Update: Olympic Peninsula Drought is Over

Upper Queets
Dried up creek bed in the Queets - This area is now burnt from wildfire

Lake Quinault, Olympic Mountains during a drought - grab this photo

A creek in the Quinault drainage, during a drought - buy photo

Smoke at Hurricane Ridge - viewed on the live feed webcam

If you plan to head into the backcountry this summer for an adventure or big backpacking trip. Plan on carrying extra water with you. It may seem like walking in a desert, not one of the wettest places in the lower 48 states. Be safe and keep the forest fire free.

Updated by Barefoot Jake in November 2015