Lightning-sparked fires prompt evacuations

Published On: Sep 10 2012 05:06:50 AM PDT   Updated On: Sep 10 2012 10:12:17 AM PDT
Central Wash. Fires

Lightning strikes sparked dozens of fires in central Washington state and have prompted scores of evacuations.

Police Sgt. John Kruse said late Sunday night that residents of about 180 homes just west of Wenatchee have been urged to evacuate.

Kruse said the 500-acre blaze, known as the Canyon Fire, probably isn't the largest of the new blazes, but is nearest to an urban area. It started around 2 p.m. Sunday and is burning sage and grass. There are 40 homes under level 3 evacuations and 100 under level 2 evacuations.

There's also two massive fires near Grand Coulee. The Barker Canyon Fire started around 5 p.m. Sunday and has burned about 10,000 acres. The Leahy Junction Fire started around 5:45 p.m. Sunday. It has burned about 1,700 acres.

About 60 residents have been evacuated from Grand Coulee, and the hospital is on standby to evacuate.

Fire officials said severe storms that moved through the region east of the Cascades late Saturday sparked 70 to 80 wildfires.

So far there have been no injuries, and just one outbuilding has been destroyed.

Officials said fire crews from across the state are mobilizing.

Meanwhile, firefighters are continuing to fight the 1,614-acre White Salmon fire, which is 50 percent contained.