Rain, lower temperatures prevent spread
A thunderstorm on Friday night (Sept. 18) ignited at least eight small wildfires in the mountains around the Methow Valley.
Firefighters with the Methow Valley Ranger District were able to locate six fires in the National Forest and extinguished two that posed a risk to homes and structures, Fire Management Officer Matt Ellis said. They fully suppressed a fire in the Rendezvous and another near Harts Pass that threatened structures at the Barron mining area, Ellis said.
State, federal and Okanogan County District 6 firefighters also extinguished a 1/2-acre fire in grass, brush and timber on state land near Virginia Ridge in the Wolf Creek area. Another small fire was contained in the lower valley near Cow Creek, according to the Central Washington Interagency Communications Center.
The other four fires located by the ranger district are in the high country, each burning a single tree with minimal fire behavior, Ellis said. Firefighters attempted to suppress the fires using aircraft over the weekend but couldn’t get close enough, he said.
District 6 also responded to reports of possible fires near Lost River and Grizzly Mountain but didn’t locate any blazes.
The thunderstorm produced more rain than expected — about 1/10 inch, and 1/4 inch in some areas. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity have kept the fires from spreading, Ellis said.
The forecast through this weekend is for “a fairly substantial moisture event,” producing up to an inch of rain in the Methow Valley, Ellis said.