- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Five large wildfires and numerous smaller fires are stretching firefighting resources thin across the state, the Washington Department of Natural Resources said Thursday.

In addition, wildfires raging in other states have also pulled Washington firefighters and air resources to those states, the agency said.

That’s a problem as the number of human-caused fires continues to rise through a record-breaking summer of drought and high temperatures. Most of eastern Washington was under a red flag fire warning on Thursday.

Large fires currently burning in the state include Cougar Creek, near Mount Adams; Wolverine, near Lake Chelan; Paradise, on the western border of Olympic National Park; Baldy, northeast of Colville; and Rutter Canyon, north of Spokane, the Department of Natural Resources said. Numerous smaller wildfires pop up daily, which require immediate action by crews with engines and helicopters.

“A very large number of wildfires in Washington are being started by people,” said Mary Verner, the department’s deputy for wildfire. “Because conditions are so bad, common activities like operating farm equipment or target shooting can spark fires.”

As of Aug. 11, there have been 751 fires on Department of Natural Resources-protected lands, with 628 of them caused by human activity. By this time last year, the state had seen 565 fires, with 455 of those human caused.

Meanwhile, a wildfire burning near Mount Adams in the Cascade Range had grown to 15 square miles Thursday and was making large runs by igniting the tops of trees and jumping from tree to tree, officials said. It is being driven by 5-to-7 mph winds through timber, logging slash and tall grass. There are 250 firefighters, along with three helicopters and at least one airplane, battling the flames.

A wildfire that has been burning for weeks along the west shore of Lake Chelan grew slightly to 57.8 square miles on Thursday, and had surrounded Holden Village, a church retreat center. Crews were protecting the buildings of Holden Village by conducting burnouts to eliminate fuels and running sprinklers.

A smaller nearby fire had closed a portion of the popular Pacific Crest Trail.

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