Wenatchee photog captures lightning bolt as it sparks brush fire

Wenatchee photog captures lightning bolt as it sparks brush fire

Credit: Michael Bendtsen

Wenatchee photog captures lightning bolt as it sparks brush fire

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by SUSAN WYATT / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on July 18, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 19 at 2:52 PM

Lightning started a fire on Burch Mountain above the Columbia River in Wenatchee on Tuesday night and a local photographer captured an image of the bolt that lit up the hillside and started the fire.

Michael Bendtsen, the owner of McGlinn's Public House,  who lives on the Riverfront Trail, says he takes and shares photos to encourage people to get outside to enjoy the beautiful valley and often captures the sunset over the Columbia River as a close to the day.

He said on Tuesday night, he could see the rain columns coming down in the sunset and decided to try to capture it to share on McGlinn's Facebook page. He could hear thunder so he went back got his tripod.

"By the time I got to the trail the rain columns were dissipating but the thunder and lightning were beginning to increase," he said. "I took the first shot with the sunset about 7 minutes prior to the one that started the fire."

After he got that great shot, he posted it on Facebook with the caption: "The Burch Mountain fire started at precisely 9:12:53pm tonight…RIGHT THERE!!"

Subsequent photos show the orange glow of the fire, which didn't last long and did not spread far.

"I would guess by 10 pm (the storm) was mostly over," said Bendtsen, who also took some amazing photos of last week's big storm 

"It was much more spectacular and lasted for 2-3 hours nonstop, with lightning and thunder coming from every direction," he said. "I was out on our trail - barefoot and shorts only - and had it all to myself. One can't even describe the awe."

The storms that rolled through Eastern Washington on Tuesday night caused flash flooding and hail the size of marbles.  State Highway 821 was closed to through traffic between Yakima and Ellensburg due to a large mudslide.

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