Wildfires burning throughout Skagit County

LAKE CAVANAUGH – Smoke billowed straight up from Mount Cavanaugh’s northeastern face Sunday, rising from small blazes set by firefighters creating a fire break around a 21-acre fire.

From a viewpoint above Lake Cavanaugh Road, the small fires burning under hemlock trees and towering 75-year-old Douglas fir were tiny orange flickers.

Setting small controlled fires to the mountain’s grass and brush, state Department of Natural Resources firefighters robbed the larger fire of fuel, said Jay Guthrie, operations chief on the fire, which was burning about a mile west of Lake Cavanaugh.

“They are making sure the line holds,” Guthrie said.

The Mount Cavanaugh fire is one of three wildfires from the Independence Day weekend that firefighters were mopping up today in Skagit County.

Firefighters expected to contain a 21-acre Mount Cavanaugh fire today that was smoldering about a mile west of Lake Cavanaugh, said Tammy Olson, a spokeswoman for DNR, the agency handling the three fires.

Crews also were mopping up a 6-acre blaze near Sumner Lake, about five miles west of the Mount Cavanaugh blaze, and a three-quarters of a acre fire on the south side of Devil’s Mountain, just east of Mount Vernon, Olson said. Humans caused the Cavanaugh and Sumner fires, she said. The cause of the Devil’s fire wasn’t available Monday morning.

The fourth blaze, the 123-acre Panther Creek fire in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area, still burned and was being watched but not fought, said Kerry Olson, a spokesman for the National Park Service.

Rainfall this morning, as well as a drop in unseasonably hot weather, helped state and local firefighters with their work and cooled the Panther Creek blaze, both state and federal spokeswomen said.

lightning sparks fires

TWISP – A lightning storm left firefighters hopping in the Methow Valley area of north-central Washington.

At least five small fires were reported after the lightning storm swept through Monday. Each was less than an acre in size, and crews already contained some of them.

Fire crews still were en route to a fire in the Leecher Canyon area.

Firefighters reported some rain and hail in the area as well, which could help to dampen any fire starts.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service said daily aerial reconnaissance flights are planned for both the Tonasket and Methow Valley Ranger Districts to spot any fire starts.

The Associated Press