Bicyclists traveling across the state of Washington should check for road closures before they get too far along.
Numerous wildfires are burning across forestland, creating road closures and bad air quality.
The biggest fire that could effect touring bicyclists is the 238,000-acre Carlton Complex in northeastern Washington, as it lays in the midst of a popular bicycle route.
As of Sunday night, State Route 20 east of Twisp was closed between Milepost 206 (Finley Canyon) to Milespost 215 (Loup Loup Pass). The state doesn’t have a designated detour for this closure.
State Route 20 also doubles as the newly minted US Bicycle Route 10 as well as the Northern Tier Bicycle Route.
This spring, the cross-state USBR 10 joined the US Bicycle Route System. The Northern Tier Bicycle Route, created by Adventure Cycling Association, crosses the US from Anacortes, WA, to Bar Harbor, Maine.
Meanwhile, another wildland fire forced closure of US Highway 2 between Coles Corner are Milepost 84.75 to Leavenworth at Milepost 99. The WSDOT traffic alert website says, “SR 207 and the Chumstick Highway are open as a detour for vehicles less than 26,000 lbs.”
[Also, a section of the Trans-America Bicycle Route is closed in Oregon. Check Adventure Cycling forums for updates on closure of US 26 between Ochoco Pass and Mitchell.]
Even if you’re not bicycling in the vicinity of the wildland fires, you may have to deal with unhealthy levels of smoke in the air.
The Washington Smoke Information blog reported Sunday morning that air quality at locations close to the fires was surprisingly good. “The worst air quality is confined to the northeast portions of Washington where this morning it is Unhealthy in Spokane and Colville.”
The blog reports that winds should shift southerly on Monday and blow the smoke northward along the eastern flank of the Cascades. As the week progresses, smoke from the Oregon fires could spread north into Washington state.
Here’s some places to check for bike travel updates:
InciWeb also notes: You can contact the “511” automated Washington Department of Transportation Travel Information line for updated information.