Storm sparks Garfield County fires

More than 100 lightning strikes were recorded and a series of fires scorched about 5,000 acres.



One of 125 recorded lightning strikes hits Alpowa Summit, between Pomeroy and Clarkston, on Sunday evening.

POMEROY -- Thunderstorms that moved through northern Garfield County Sunday afternoon brought 125 recorded lightning strikes and left behind at least 10 fires that burned about 5,000 to 6,000 acres of tall grass, brush and crops.

The Bell Plain Complex fire is about 4.5 miles northeast of Pomeroy.

The fires started about 6 p.m. At midnight the Garfield County Fire District 1 requested state resources. Washington State patrol Chief John Batiste authorized the mobilization, and this morning crews from Grant, Thurston and Lewis county were on their way to Pomeroy, WSP Deputy State Fire Marshal Ron Bowen said.

According to an 11 a.m. report from the Garfield County Sheriff's Office, fire crews are working on mop-up.

The incident command post is at the Pomeroy Fairgrounds.

Four houses were evacuated Sunday, but the immediate threat to structures is over. Several outbuildings, sheds and unoccupied residences were threatened, too.

Sunday's thunderstorms should be the last for a while, according to Rachel Trimarco, meterologist with the National Weather Service office in Pendleton.

The fire weather forecast for the next few days is cooling, with an increase of relative humidity, but winds will increase, Trimarco said.


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