[7/24/19] Lightning Strikes Put Firefighters Into Action
Yesterday’s thunder cell dropped more than 500 lightning strikes across the eastern slopes of the Cascades in Central Washington. The U.S. Forest Service said they’ve actively responded to eight fires from 15 smoke reports in Chelan County, as well as some in Kittitas and Yakima Counties, over the last 24 hours. One spot is in a remote location near the Chiwawa River above Lake Wenatchee, so smoke jumpers were deployed to check it out. All of these naturally-ignited wildfires are currently under a quarter-acre in size, with most about a tenth of an acre or single tree ignitions.
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest firefighters will monitor public lands near communities as well as in backcountry and Wilderness areas as some strikes may not become visible for several days. Officials said after that they evaluate each new fire on the right response to take. In an effort to have more natural fire on the landscape and burn decades of woody build-up, the Forest Service said it will allow some fires to burn themselves out if they aren’t threatening homes, infrastructure or wilderness zones.