Lightning stretches across the sky Tuesday, Aug. 3.

OKANOGAN – A fierce thunderstorm barreled across Okanogan and Ferry counties Tuesday evening, Aug. 3, bringing rain, wind, thunder and lightning and igniting several new fires.

Despite the downpours, the rain did little to help firefighters battling two large fires in the Methow Valley.

“Moisture from yesterdays rain will lead to muggy conditions early in the day,” said the U.S. Forest Service about conditions on the 52,030-acre Cedar Creek Fire burning west of Mazama and Winthrop. The lightning-caused blaze is 25 percent contained.

“While portions of Winthrop and Twisp received significant rain, weather stations within the fire perimeter did not,” said the Forest Service of the Cub Creek 2 Fire north of Winthrop.

That blaze had burned across 58,697 acres of land as of Wednesday morning, with 24 percent containment.

“Max rainfall was 0.06 inch with some stations reporting zero precipitation,” said fire officials. “This rain event is not expected to have a significant impact on the Cub Creek 2 Fire.”

The storm blew into the mid-valley area between 7 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, interrupting satellite television signals and knocking out electricity to some areas. Lightning strikes also touched off several fires.

Crews from Fire District No. 3 (Okanogan, Malott and Omak) were called to the area of Highway 20 milepost 225 – Pleasant Valley west of Okanogan – for a blaze that took off up the hill in sage and grass. The state Department of Natural Resources initially didn’t have a crew available, but later arrived to take over from local crews.

The fire was 100 percent lined and contained at 25 acres by 11:30 p.m., according to DNR records.

Lightning-strike fires also were reported off Old Omak Lake Road south of the lake, Keystone area north of Riverside, Tunk Creek Road east of Riverside, Walker Creek off Bunch Road/Bonaparte Run Road in the Wauconda area, and Fox and Cayuse mountains. Fire district Nos. 7 and 4 responded in their respective areas.

The Walker Creek Fire prompted a Level 2 (be ready) evacuation alert for Bunch Road from Okanogan County Emergency Management. A Level 1 alert was issued for Bonaparte Run Road.

Fire District No. 6 (Methow Valley) responded to a strike at Davis Lake off Upper Bear Creek Road and another near Lost River, Mazama.

The U.S. Forest Service reported a 0.1-acre fire on Driveway Butte west of Lost River Resort. Smokejumpers were to tackle the fire Wednesday morning.

Okanogan County Public Utility District crews also spent Tuesday evening and into Wednesday in the elements, as electricity was knocked out in several areas.

A tree fell on a line in Pleasant Valley after 8 p.m. Tuesday, cutting power to that area and areas around Malott.

Early the next morning, the utility reported working on restoring power to an area outside Okanogan near the Washington State Patrol building. A pole had to be replaced.

As of about 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, power had been restored to most areas. Crews planned to continue making repairs later into the morning.

Some areas of Okanogan County reported heavy rainfall and wind, while others had dry lightning only.

Gusts as high as 46 mph were reported at the Omak Municipal Airport just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, with sustained southwest wind at 22 mph. An hour early, winds were calm and from the north, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm, which downed trees, moved into Ferry County after cutting a swath across Okanogan County.


A pair of trees fell within a few feet of a home along Conconully Road.

A tree fell through a porch on South Third Street, Brewster, damaging it but sparing the house, according to Brewster Police reports.

The sheriff’s office received reports of a tree down on a power pole on Twisp-Carlton Road, Twisp, several fires and a transformer and pole fire on South Van Duyn Avenue, Okanogan.

In Omak, a tree limb fell onto West Bartlett Avenue, and a tree fell onto the southbound lane of North Ash Street at West Cherry Avenue.

Electricity was knocked out county-wide in Ferry County. That county’s public utility district is working on restoring service, said the Ferry County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday morning.

A heat advisory is in place for much of eastern Washington and northern Idaho through 11 p.m. Wednesday. The weather service predicts “dangerously hot conditions” with afternoon temperatures in the high 90s to 105 degrees. Wildfire smoke could reduce temperatures somewhat.

The state Department of Natural Resources received several calls Tuesday afternoon and evening, and into Wednesday morning:

Aug. 3

• Walker Creek Fire, Bonaparte Run Road – 3:22 p.m., 50 acres.

• Pleasant Valley – 7:44 p.m., 25 acres; 100 percent lined and contained at 11:30 p.m.

• Windy Hill – 8:14 p.m., smoke check, unable to locate.

• Keystone – 8:54 p.m., 30 acres.

• Five Mile Strike – 9:16 p.m., 0.1 acre; fully lined at 10:20 p.m.

• Cayuse Strike, Cayuse Mountain Road – 9:32 p.m., no acreage listed.

• Fox Mountain – 11:41 p.m., 0.1 acre.

Aug. 4

• Grouse Mountain - 4:28 a.m., smoke check in Ferry County.

• Storm King -6:03 a.m., smoke check in Ferry County.

• Little Boulder – 6:47 a.m., smoke check in Ferry County.

• Keystone Strike – 8:06 a.m., one acre along Tunk Creek Road.

• Conconully – 8:55 a.m., smoke check.

• Iorn Mountain – 9:03 a.m., smoke check in Ferry County.

Mount Tolman dispatch center also handled several calls on the Colville Indian Reservation on Tuesday afternoon and evening, and into Wednesday morning:

Aug. 3

• Cameron Lake Cutoff Road – 1:31 p.m., 0.1 acre.

• Hamilton Ridge – 8:09 p.m., 100 acres.

•Whitmore – 8:25 p.m., 200 acres.

•Twentyone Mile – 9:28 p.m., no acreage listed.

• Gold Lake Road – 9:56 p.m., no acreage listed.

• Belvedere – 10:29 p.m., no acreage listed.

Aug. 4

• New fire – 12:21 a.m., no location or acreage listed.

• New fire – 12:58 a.m., no location or acreage listed.

• Johnson Lake – 2:46 a.m., 0.4 acre.

• Barnaby Creek – 6:50 a.m., 0.1 acre.

• Ant Mountain/Barnaby Creek – 9:12 a.m., 0.1 acre.

The storm also pummeled the Cascade Mountains between Highway 2 (Stevens Pass) and Highway 20 (North Cascades), according to

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.