Better Weather to Aid In Washington Wildfire Fight

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -

Calmer winds and cooler temperatures were allowing firefighters to go on the offensive Monday against a destructive wildfire that has charred hundreds of square miles of terrain in Washington State.

The Carlton Complex of fires in north-central Washington had burned about 379 square miles, fire spokesman Andrew Sanbri said Monday.

“There is optimism in the air, but we don’t want to give the impression that all is good,” Sanbri said. “Things are improving.”

The fire was just 2 percent contained Monday.

Firefighters planned to aggressively protect some houses near Libby Creek on Monday, by keeping the flames from jumping the waterway, Sanbri said. Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers estimates that 150 homes have been destroyed already, but suspects that number could be higher. The fire is being blamed for one death.

The forecast for Monday and Tuesday called for lighter winds and lower temperatures, said Spokane-based National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Koch.

Then on Wednesday a “vigorous” front is expected to cover Washington, bringing rain to much of the state. But it will also bring lightning, he noted.