Lightning starts dozens of new fires in Northwest

Lightning has started dozens of new fires in the Northwest, forcing incident commanders to juggle crews and equipment as a new round of storms approaches.

A new lightning-caused fire about 30 miles northwest of Olympia at Haven Lake has grown to nearly 300 acres since it began Monday.

Fire officials say it is burning on forested lands and is not threatening any structures.

Fire fighters are starting to get a handle on other wildfires burning across the state, although some are still growing.

Several lightning caused fires in central Washington continue to be active, including the Devil’s Elbow Complex, which had grown to nearly 32 square miles in north-central Washington by Tuesday morning.

The group of fires burning 15 miles northeast of Nespelem started Aug. 3. Fire officials say the complex is 7 percent contained.

The Snag Canyon fire burning 10 miles north of Ellensburg also is growing. It was last measured at more than 16 square miles and is 30 percent contained.

Meanwhile, three firefighters who deployed emergency shelters when a thunderstorm whipped up the flames of a Northern California blaze were released unhurt from a hospital Tuesday, but weren’t yet back on the fire line.

Fire spokesman Corey Wilford said there’s no immediate word whether an investigation will be conducted, but they are usual in cases like this.

The Beaver Fire has prompted evacuations of 150 rural homes in a mountainous region of Siskiyou County.

The Northwest Incident Coordination Center in Portland reports more than 5,000 lightning strikes across Oregon and Washington, starting 68 new fires covering 13 square miles. More lighting is on the way.

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