Heat toughens wildfire battle

SEATTLE — Firefighters battling Washington’s largest wildfire have been able to keep the blaze from threatening more homes, but rising temperatures this week will make their job harder, officials said Monday.

Temperatures for central and eastern Washington are expected to be scorching this week, with some areas hitting triple digits Monday. It will be even hotter Tuesday. But amid the heat, there’s a bit of good news: wind isn’t a major factor in the forecast.

“If we continue to heat up and dry out, it’ll dry out more fuels, but we don’t have the winds that may spread them or cause a new fire,” said Ty Judd, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Spokane office.

Fueled by dry conditions and wind gusts, the Carlton Complex fire has torn through 390 square miles in north-central Washington, leaving 300 homes destroyed in the Pateros and Brewster area and throughout the Methow Valley. Officials said the fire is 66 percent contained as of Monday.

Incident spokesman Jim Schwarber said the fire perimeter was mostly stable from Winthrop to Carlton.

The rising temperatures have produced isolated smoke around the area, but none of it was attributed to a new fire or a blaze outside the perimeter. Crews continue to respond to concerns from area residents, putting out hot spots when they are called.

However, officials cautioned that the fire is not out yet and increased activity will be noticeable as the days get hotter.

Schwarber said nearby residents will see plumes of smoke “probably until snow flies this fall.”

In fires of this size, there are isolated spots that haven’t burned, he said. Those may catch fire as the ground continues to smolder. Those fires are not worrisome because they start within the fire’s perimeter, he said.

More in Local News

It’s hard to find a parking spot at Wallace Falls State Park

There’s a study under way on how to tackle that issue and others.

At long last, a church of his own

After years of filling in elsewhere, Hallack Greider is the new pastor at Maplewood Presbyterian.

Judge: Lawmakers’ emails, texts subject to public disclosure

News organizations had sued to challenge the Legislature’s claim that members were exempt.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Outgoing councilwoman honored by Marysville Fire District

The Marysville Fire District in December honored outgoing City Councilwoman Donna Wright… Continue reading

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Number of flu-related deaths in county continues to grow

Statewide, 86 people have died from the flu, most of whom were 65 or older.

Most Read