Lightning strikes cause 75 fires in Northeastern Washington - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Lightning strikes cause 75 fires in Northeastern Washington

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - Lightning strikes that continued into the evening hours caused more than 75 new fires Thursday in Northeastern Washington. Many of the new wildfires were on public and private lands protected by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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DNR responded to Thursday's outbreak by deploying 200 firefighters, 30 fire engines and five helicopters plus a 900-gallon air tanker. Several other local and federal agencies are also responding to new fire reports in northeast counties where fire hazard levels on open land are rated "high" to "extreme" due to dry weather and low moisture levels in grasses, trees, and other vegetation.

So far, there have been more than 500 wildfires on the 12.7 million acres of public and private land that DNR protects. That's 100 more wildfires than at this time last year. As moisture levels fall below 11 percent in some parts of the eastside and 19 counties have fire danger levels rated as extreme or high, DNR urges caution when playing and working outside.

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DNR urges people to help prevent wildfires. Wildfires, even those that do not damage structures or cause evacuations, are costly to state resources. So far, this year, resources used by DNR include more than:

  • 45 helicopter missions
  • 255 flight hours logged
  • 2,250 buckets from helicopters dropped 506,250 gallons of water on fires
  • 7,680 bottles of Gatorade consumed by fire crews
  • 19,075 bottles of water consumed by fire crews
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