U, S. Highway 2 remains closed in the North Cascades for what's now the 12th day in a row because of the Bolt Creek Fire, which has been burning close by.

The holdup to reopening the highway is unstable trees on slopes next to the roadway.

Washington State Department of Transportation spokesperson RB McKeon says crews were surprised by one tree that tumbled onto the highway Monday.

"The tree itself looked fine," said MKeon. "And then when it fell on its own, the roots were burned. So, we're looking at things like that."

Arborists with the U.S. Forest Service are making an assessment Wednesday of the condition of existing trees near the highway, after which WSDOT will formulate a plan and time frame for reopening the road.

McKeon said the arborists will play a key role in determining timelines.

"They might come back to us and say that there are a certain number of trees that have to be removed because they're a cause for danger," McKeon said. "Because they're arborists, they know how long it would take to remove trees of that size on that kind of a slope. And then we can start to formulate a plan for how long it will take for that part of the work to be done."

Meanwhile, WSDOT has set up soft and hard closure points to handle people who live inside the 13 mile closure.

A hard closure is in place on the closure's eastside at Skykomish, which means only emergency vehicles and personnel working on mission critical aspects of the fire are allowed beyond that point.

The west side end of the closure at Sunset Falls is a soft closure, where local residents are allowed to pass through.

All the check points are manned with personnel who screen drivers who attempt to pass through.

The Bolt Creek Fire itself is largely under control. As of Tuesday night, it was 95 percent contained and burning 10,193 acres.

It's being handled by the Type 2 Northwest Incident Management Team 8. A Type 2 Team has more resources and personnel that the smaller, locally based Type 3 Team that was previously managing the fire.

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