YAKIMA, Wash. — Fire crews are fighting or monitoring several fires in Eastern Washington that were caused by lightning on July 23-24.

The largest is the 2,500-acre Left Hand Fire near the small town of Cliffdell about 32 miles northwest of Yakima.

Lightning struck July 23 in steep terrain not accessible by road. Firefighters hiked in and had some initial success until burning material rolled downhill, crossed a containment line and spread the fire, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It later grew, driven by wind and fed by dry fuels.

Evacuation notices were given to 26 homes and prepare-to-evacuate notices were given to 270 more.

As of 7 p.m. July 29, the fire was 15% contained, 513 personnel were on site and the concern was that wind could push the fire eastward.

Hilary Franz, state commissioner of Public Lands, was to visit a firefighter operations base July 30.

The Devore Creek Fire was ignited by lightning July 23 but wasn’t spotted until 3 p.m. July 26 by a Glacier Peak Wilderness trail crew. It is at 8,000 feet elevation in the Cascade Mountains, three miles southwest of Stehekin, at the northwest end of Lake Chelan.

Aerial reconnaissance at 4 p.m. estimated the fire at 5 acres. Firefighters rappelled to the scene within two hours but were unable to safely engage it because of extreme terrain and heavy timber. By 5:30 p.m., the fire was estimated at more than 75 acres and more recently at 150 acres.

The fire is being monitored and crews are reopening a fire protection line near Stehekin.

The Desert Canyon Fire, ignited by lightning July 23, burned 1,456 acres of sagebrush on steep hillsides near Brays Landing, 24 miles north of Wenatchee, before being contained July 27.

The Graham Fire was the largest of four small fires ignited by lightning July 24 south and southwest of Cheney, which is south of Spokane. The fire grew to 171 acres before being fully contained on July 28.

Central Washington field reporter

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