Local News

Lightning Storms Spark Fires

Jul 22, 2016

Lightning from last night’s storms ignited a small fire in the 8-Mile drainage north of Winthrop, Washington.  The half-acre fire is staffed with a local crew and engine from the Methow Valley Ranger District, with helicopter air support.  Containment is anticipated later today.

While areas of the county saw rainfall during last night’s storms, none fell at the fire location.  

“Traveling through the forest right now, one can get the impression that the vegetation is too lush to burn,” said Matt Ellis, Fire Management Officer for the Methow Valley Ranger District.  “In fact, at the fire location, the fuels were dry and receptive.  A warming and drying trend is predicted to start this weekend and expected through next week.  Fire conditions can change quickly as fuels begin to dry out.”

Reconnaissance flights are going on now across the two Ranger Districts to look for new fire starts. 

“Those flights will continue for a while,” noted Todd Camm, Fire Management Officer for Tonasket Ranger District.  “It is common for lightning caused fires to smolder, not putting up enough smoke to be visible for a couple of weeks after a storm goes through and meteorologists are predicting more storm fronts to move through over the next week or so.”

While campfires are still allowed on National Forest Lands, visitors to the forest are reminded that fire danger can change quickly from low to high in mid-summer.  Current conditions are available on the Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/okawen or by calling the Methow Valley or Tonasket Ranger Districts, or the visitor information center in Omak.

To report a fire, please call 911.  

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