Firefighters On Alert For New Lightning Strikes

Aug 14, 2014

Firefighters are grateful for the thunderstorms that brought some rain to the Eastern Cascades this week, but the thunderstorms also brought the threat of lightning strikes.

Thunderstorms brought the threat of lightening strikes this week, potentially causing more fires.
Credit Bo Insogna / Flickr

As the weather clears and the cloud cover lifts over the next couple of days, fire spotters will be on high alert, looking for any telltale signs of new smoke from the ground.

Nick Mickel is a spokesman with Washington's Chiwaukum Complex fire located between Leavenworth and Entiat.

“A lot of these fires caused by lightning over the last week or two are what we call sleepers,” Mickel said. “They are started by the lightning strike, but we never find them until they start putting up a little bit of smoke. We have aerial observers in the air all the time looking for those things, but they don't really pop up for a couple of days.”

Officials said despite the rain, the woody fuels remain dry. Fires are still expected to creep and smolder in forested areas with heavy canopy.

The Chiwaukum Complex fire is the second largest in Washington state. It is 40 percent contained.

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