WENATCHEE – A lightning storm Friday, Sept. 18, touched off several fires across the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Aerial observation flights were conducted Saturday and Sunday to search for smoke from lightning-caused spot fires. Ten small fires were reported across the forest, according to forest officials.
Cool temperatures and precipitation associated with the storm aided suppression efforts and resulted in limited growth on any of the fires.
In the Methow Valley Ranger District, firefighters responded to five reported lightning fires on Saturday and Sunday. Two were accessible and quickly suppressed. Three of these fires are in inaccessible terrain and, to support firefighter safety, will be monitored, said officials.
The Varden Two Fire and Pekin Fire are visible from Klipchuck Campground and Highway 20 west of Mazama. The Setting Sun Fire is in the Pasayten Wilderness approximately seven miles northwest of Mazama. All three are in isolated areas of the forest, away from structures or trails.
Two lightning fires were reported in the Naches Ranger District. A Cle Elum Ranger District fire crew responded to a small fire 10 miles northeast of Cle Elum. In the Wenatchee River Ranger District, a crew responded to reported smoke east of Tumwater Campground on Sunday.
A small lightning-caused fire was reported in the Entiat Ranger District. Hikers dug a line around it and smothered it with dirt and water before reporting it.
In addition to local efforts, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest has three hand crews, 11 overhead personnel and three engines supporting fire suppression efforts on large fires in the West.