Stretch of Hwy 9 closed as Skagit Co. wildfire continues burning

Stretch of Hwy 9 closed as Skagit Co. wildfire continues burning
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. --A wildfire burning east of Mount Vernon has closed part of Highway 9 and is presenting dangerous conditions for the men and women battling the blaze.

"We are working within probably the limits we would allow anyone to work in. I mean, we are right there," said fire management specialist Steve Biggs.

The wildfire is now just under three acres, but firefighters say it's burning in the most dangerous terrain they've ever experienced.

"It's a pretty tough hike up here," Biggs said. "One of the toughest things is the ground its just so steep, it's so rocky, you take one path you think your fine and all of a sudden it goes straight down."

Biggs has fought his his share of wildfires, and he said he has a secret weapon to track down even the tiniest of hotspots.

"You can actually find those, you just have to walk around and use your hands and your sniffer," he said.

If they're not spotted and dealt with, Biggs said even a dime-sized hotspot can flare up and cause major damage.

"It's nothing but timber in between here and the housing development," he said. "This close to people's homes and stuff, yeah, it's very serious."

Officials have not yet determined the cause of the fire, but they suspect it may have been started by a campfire.