Lightning strikes spark more Washington wildfires

A Chelan County community just now recovering from a fast-moving wildfire is being threatened once again.

A weekend lightning storm sparked more than 60 new fires in Washington, and the largest of them is now forcing evacuations in a community near Malaga.

Firefighter Roy Varney’s crew is standing guard in case the Mile Post 10 fire makes a run at any area homes. They’re safe for now, but that could change in a moment’s notice.

“Prevention is the name of the game,” Varney said.

Don Kasel and his wife were able to safely get out of the area Saturday night. They grabbed their family photos and their two dogs when it looked like the entire ridge was burning.

“We’ve got a mess out here,” Kasel said. “We’re evacuated right now. A level three, the highest evacuation that they have.”

The fire is threatening roughly 80 homes, and Kasel is grateful for the men and women who have stepped up to fight it.

“It’s just amazing the people that are parked in our driveway,” he said. “There’s three fire trucks.”

Nearly an hour’s drive away in the town of Cashmere, a helicopter spent Sunday dropping water on what appears to be another spot fire caused by lightning.

Varney said the half-inch of rain that fell with the thunder storms isn’t enough to help prevent the fire from spreading further.

“It’s enough rain to soak the grass,” he said. “When sun comes out, the grass dries like that. Two hours later you’re right back to where you were before the rain.”

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