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Tue., Aug. 13, 2013, 8:10 a.m.

Thunder storms put hikers in hot spot

The Washington State Department of Transportation says eight mudslides have buried SR 20, cutting off a major east-west route across the Cascades. (Washington Department of Transportation)
The Washington State Department of Transportation says eight mudslides have buried SR 20, cutting off a major east-west route across the Cascades. (Washington Department of Transportation)

WILDERNESS -- I'm just back from four electrifying days of backpacking in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, catching up old news for which I had a front row seat.

Mudslides bury North Cascades Highway -- Hikers stranded Monday as storms leave the vital summer passage closed over the mountains between Mazama and the Skagit Valley. The Washington State Department of Transportation says eight mudslides have buried SR 20.

Lightning pounds North Cascades -- Lightning maps showed more than 7,400 strikes occurred from 9 a.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday along the eastern slope of the Cascade Range and in Southeastern Washington, including the Glacier Peak Wilderness where I was hunkered three nights in a row wishing I had ear plugs.  Much of the thunder was concentrated in Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Franklin counties, Forest Service officials say. 

                “Significant amounts of rain fell Saturday night so some fires may not be detected for some time,” said Central Washington Interagency Communications Center Operations Coordinator Jim Duck. “Many times lightning will strike a tree and fire will smolder beneath it for some time until fuel around it dries out.”



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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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