Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Department of Natural Resources officials say more than 4,000 lightning strikes overnight Saturday in Central Washington started at least 80 fires.

The largest, the No. 1 Canyon fire near Wenatchee, coversabout 500acres and is burning toward the west side of the city.

At one point Sunday afternoon, officials said about180 homes were evacuated. Many were initiallyallowed to return home Sunday night, but then the fire took a bad turn and more evacuations were ordered.

Asof Sunday night, no homes had been lost, but oneshed hadcaught fire.

Some 155 fire personnel from area agencies are fighting the fire and at least 20 law enforcement personnel are manning roadblocks and contacting residents with evacuation notices.

The US Forest Service and the Department of Natural Resources are also assisting with personnel and a helicopter from the Forest Service is also helping with firefighting efforts.

A state mobization has been declared for the fire and additional resources from around Washington State are on their way to assist.

A shelter for evacuees has been set up at the Wenatchee Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for central and eastern Washington. Warm and very dry conditions will precede a cold front that will bring strong winds through Monday.

Winds were expected to increase Sunday afternoon to 15 to 25 mph with gusts 30 to 40 mph in many areas where relative humidity will be below 20 percent.

The Weather Service said this will cause extreme fire behavior and growth on existing wildfires.

Michael Bendtsen was at the North-Central Washington Fair Saturday night when the lightning began and took some photos of the lightning strikes.

Within just a matter of minutes you could see smoke coming up from a fire that was close to the fairgrounds, he said.

The lightning continued into the night and you could see it up in the Blewett Pass to CleElum areas, as well as Leavenworth towards Lake Wenatchee, he said.

Bendtsen said this summer has been specactular for storms

We have had a few storms that are storms of a lifetime, he said. The one we had earlier this summer, if you talk to any of the old timers, they'll say that they've never seen anything quite like it.

KING 5's John Langeler contributed to this report.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.king5.com/story/news/2014/08/03/13161292/