Fires burning in wilderness near Leavenworth could mean smoky days

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Three lightning-caused fires are smoldering in the wilderness near Leavenworth.

That could mean hazy, if not smoky, conditions in the area in the days ahead.

The U.S. Forest Service said visitors in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness may already see smoke from the 30-acre South Fork Creek and tenth-of-an-acre Index fires.

Those two fires are burning about a mile apart and 12 to 14 miles west-northwest of Leavenworth.

Forest Service crews have kept an eye on both fires.

Lightning strikes July 23 started the fires.

Wenatchee River Ranger District Fire Management Officer Cary Stock says there currently no plans to use firefighting resources on them.

“These fires are being managed to play their natural role in the environment and to preserve and enhance wilderness integrity,” Stock said. “This strategy aligns with the current Wilderness direction, which allows naturally caused fire to maintain wilderness character.”

A third fire, the Maple Creek Fire, is in the Chiwawa drainage about 29 miles northwest of Leavenworth.

That fire was the result of a July 23 lightning strike, as well.

The Forest Service is working to contain it within the footprint of the 2003 Maple Fire.

It was first spotted as a single snag burning.