Local News

Storm Brings Lightning and Fires

Jul 23, 2019

A storm system that moved through Okanogan County Monday afternoon brought lightning strikes to the area, several of which sparked fires from Okanogan to Whitestone.  The storm system coming from the south moved north east across the county and did bring some precipitation.

The first fire reported was in the Dry Coulee area.  Okanogan County Emergency Management sent out a notice at 3:06pm saying the fire was burning in the area of 189 Dry Coulee Road in Okanogan.  The Level 1 Advisory stated that persons should be aware of their surroundings and take action if needed.  Units from both Omak and Okanogan were toned to the fire that grew to 9.8 acres according to the DNR.  Crews were able to knock that fire down with the help of two planes and a helicopter.  That fire was officially contained shortly before 11pm on Monday.

A second fire in the Lime Belt Road area was reported just minutes later.  That fire, which grew to 22 acres was in patrol status last night.  Fire crews from District 9 battled that blaze with the DNR crews.

And a third fire broke out about 3:30pm on Monday. That fire, called the Flat Strike fire started in the area of Holmes Road near Whitestone, northwest of Tonasket.  Crews were able to quickly contain that fire, which grew to just .2 acres according to the DNR.

The storm moved north of the border sparking several fires in the Osoyoos area as well. The British Columbia Wildfire Service tweeted early Monday evening that they were responding to several lightning-caused wildfires in the area of Anarchist Mountain east of Osoyoos.  BCWS personnel were tackling those fires along with the local fire department and air tankers.

More storms are expected to move through the area today.  The National Weather Service in Spokane has issued a Hazerdous Weather Outlook for the Okanogan Valley and Okanogan Highlands.  The forecast says “Hot temperatures will continue today with highs in the 90s. A cold front will bring showers and thunderstorms to the Cascades today and then across the remainder of the region this evening and overnight. Some storms may produce wind gusts in excess of 40 MPH.” 

A more dangerous Red Flag Warning has also been issued for areas south of Okanogan County, including the Northern Columbia Basin, the Palouse and Spokane Areas.



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