Wildfires in the Skagit River Basin have historically been uncommon and relatively small. In a warmer climate, the number and size of forest fires are expected to increase, with the biggest effects observed in extreme drought years. West-side fires that occurred in the record drought year of 2015 provided a preview of a future with smokier skies.
The Goodell Fire burned over 7,000 acres near Newhalem in August 2015. Ignited by lightning, this fire crossed the North Cascades Highway, causing the temporary shutdown of Seattle City Light hydroelectric facilities and evacuation of the town of Diablo.
Figure 1 Goodell Fire from Marblemount, Washington, August 2015