With high temperatures and dry conditions across the state, fire crews from the Olympic National Park to the Colville National Forest are battling wildfires.
With high temperatures and bone-dry conditions persisting across the state, fire crews from as far west as the Olympic National Park and as far east as the Colville National Forest and Asotin County are battling wildfires.
About a dozen different fires are burning, or under close monitoring, across the state, according to InciWeb, the state’s fire-incident information service. The figure includes the Sleepy Hollow fire that destroyed homes and businesses around Wenatchee.
“This is the driest and the hottest it has been. While we had a wet spring, we haven’t had any consistent rain or any measurable precipitation for about a month now. It’s an abnormal season,” said Susan Peterson, spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service in Wenatchee.
She said four crews are on the ground near Stehekin, Chelan County, fighting the nearly 400-acre Wolverine Creek Fire in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
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Peterson said the terrain is steep, rocky and extremely difficult for firefighters to access.
“This fire emanated from five lightning strikes. It’s at 5,900-foot elevation, it’s very steep,” Peterson said. “It’s in a remote location. Stehekin is at least 10 miles away.”
In southeastern Asotin County, State Patrol Chief John Batiste authorized the mobilization of state resources Sunday to help local firefighters battle the new Gilmore Gulch Fire.
That blaze, which began about 12:15 p.m., had grown by Sunday evening to an estimated 2,500 acres and was threatening ranch homes and crops, according to the State Patrol.
The fire was able to spread quickly by feeding on grass and brush in the rural area, said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Bill Slosson, a Patrol spokesman.
Peterson said there have not been any mandatory evacuations at this point.
Close to Wenatchee, crews are still battling the Sleepy Hollow fire.
The blaze is 98 percent contained, but it burned 2,950 acres, destroyed 29 homes and struck three commercial businesses.
In Moses Lake on Sunday, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and fire officials battled a brush fire that caused dozens of evacuations at a trailer park.
“It’s very, very dry. We’ve had no rain, no precipitation at all,” said Grant County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sharon Palmerton.
“It’s not good at all. We’re really seeing how quickly these things start and spread,” she said.
On the state’s far west side, fire crews are battling the more than 1,200-acre Paradise fire in the Olympic National Forest.
The area that is burning had the driest spring in a century and a snowpack that was only 14 percent of average.
Laura McConnell, spokeswoman for the Paradise Fire, said the fire is “not near any communities. It’s in a wilderness area; it’s not easily accessible.”
While wildfires are plaguing swaths of rural land across the state, in King County local fire agencies responded to more than 500 fire calls on July 4.
By comparison, they responded to just under 200 fire calls the previous Fourth of July.