No wildfires sparked by overnight thunderstorms

By Paul Suarez, Columbian freelance

Published:

Updated: August 26, 2011, 5:46 PM

 

Southwest Washington on Friday appeared to have escaped any wildfires caused by overnight thunderstorms.

Three lightning strikes hit the Gifford Pinchot National Forest sometime after 3 a.m., but there were no fires reported, forest spokesman Chris Strebig said.

An employee at the Department of Natural Resources communications center in Castle Rock said no fires were reported in Western Washington, but lands managers are keeping an eye on things because of thunderstorms.

Two fires were reported in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest — one in the higher elevation area, another in lower elevations, Strebig said.

Officials conducted a flyover of the fires Friday morning.

Forest officials look ahead when there is the potential for lightning.

On Thursday, the fire warning level at the Gifford Pinchot National Forest was raised to moderate.

That means people should have a “higher level of awareness and caution,” Strebig said. “You can still have campfires and things like that but you need to be careful.”

Officials on Thursday also raised the Industrial Fire Precaution Level from I to II. That change means chain saws may not be run between 1 and 8 p.m., when temperatures are at their peak and there is less moisture in the air.