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More wildfires possible this week if lightning strikes

Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center
Washington's wildfire map is remarkably clear right now.

Washington officials say early suppression efforts have helped keep fires from getting out of control.

Fire officials worry thunderstorms expected around the Northwest Tuesday night and Wednesday may ignite new wildfires. Those storms could bring a little rain, but they may just as likely be dry. The chance of thundershowers will linger through the rest of the week.

Several fires ignited during last week’s heat. Crews continue to fully contain them as they smolder. They’ve managed to keep them from growing into mega fires, something Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz noted during a recent press briefing.

“We’ve been able to get on fires very, very quickly. We’ve had 293 fires but we have only had four significant ones on the landscape in the last few days," she said. "Largely that’s because of our initial attack where we’re getting on them quickly before they get too large, especially with the wind conditions. This helps us reduce the amount of resources we actually need on the ground as well, as well as the destruction fires bring.”

Franz also credited extra firefighting resources state legislators have allocated during the last two years.

The largest fire in Washington so far this season is the Vantage Highway fire. It has charred about 32,000 acres, a small fraction of the acreage burned by the big fires of recent years. It burned one home and three outbuildings and is mostly contained.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.