WENATCHEE, Wash --- Thunderstorms moved through central Washington on Friday and lightning started several fires in the Naches Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, west of Yakima.
The lightning reportedly ignited 13 fires in the area. Ten of the fires are within the William O. Douglas and Norse Peak Wilderness areas. Local Forest Service fire crews attacked and contained two fires near Rimrock Lake and one near Timber Wolf Mountain, Friday night.
The remaining fires were too remote to contain on Friday.
Saturday morning, fire managers used a helicopter to get a more detailed look at the ten wilderness fires located over a 72-square-mile area approximately 62 miles northwest of Naches. Most of the fires were less than an acre in size, with one estimated at five acres and the largest at 15 acres.
The area is characterized as steep, rugged terrain and varies from bare rock and sparse alpine vegetation to heavily forested slopes. The largest and most active fire, located along the North Fork of Union Creek, was burning within an area of dead standing trees and producing a clearly visible smoke column Saturday afternoon. All of the fires are estimated to be a minimum of one mile from the exterior Wilderness boundaries. None of the fires present an imminent threat to structures or resources outside wilderness.
Due to the inaccessible terrain and hazards to firefighter’s safety, fire management personnel will monitor the fires until more favorable conditions allow for a safer and more effective firefighting effort. Closures have been instituted for the following trails: Union Creek Lake Way Trail #953, Kettle Creek Trail #957, Pleasant Valley Lake Trail #958B, American Ridge Trail #958, Goose Prairie Trail #972 and Goat Creek #959. These closures will remain in effect until it is determined safe for the public to enter.
It is very likely smoke from some of these fires will be evident for the near future. Motorists traveling the section of SR410 near the fires should be alert to reduced visibility due to smoke settling in the valley late at night and in the early morning.
More information for these fires can be found on the forest website here.