The Washington wildfire that's destroyed thousands of acres could burn out of control if perpetuated by the dry-lightning storms forecasted this week.
Laurie Dowie, of the U.S. Forest Service, told the Seattle Times
that the storms could bring little rain, but an increase in winds and lightning to the Mills Canyon area, possibly starting new fires and re-energizing the fire that remains.
"Those storms could change everything," Dowie told the Times Sunday. "It's been a very productive day. They’re working from either end of the fire, clearing brush in a line from the north down and the south up."
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More than 780 firefighters from around central Washington state fought the wildfire over the weekend, with help from hotshot crews, helicopters, air tankers, and bulldozers. Officials told the newspaper that the blaze was 25 percent contained as of late Sunday.
The Associated Press reported Saturday that the fire held steady
despite hot weather conditions in the area, which is roughly between Seattle and Spokane.
"We are seeing moderate fire behavior [Saturday], but it's not making runs and getting ahead of itself like it was," fire operations spokesman Rick Acosta told the AP. "We're hoping to keep it where it is."
Several dozen homes in the area were evacuated by the order of emergency officials as firefighters continued to make progress on the blaze that sparked last week. Fire crews did manage to protect more than 100 houses along Highway 97A, as well as 14 more structures along Roaring Creek, near the fire's northern edge, according to the AP.
The Seattle Times reported that no one has been injured so far in the wildfire but two buildings in the Mills Canyon area did sustain damage. The newspaper said that many of the firefighters are using nearby Entiat High School as a camping area.
"They're coming from all over the West, and that will probably continue," forest service spokesman Daniel O'Connor told the Seattle Times. "The forecast is not good."
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