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Thunderstorms Expected To Spread Wildfires, Start More

Douglas Forest Protective Association.

Fire managers are bracing for a round of thunderstorms that could create erratic fire behavior across the Northwest. Storms are expected from Challis, Idaho, to Grants Pass, Ore., starting Wednesday.

Sarah Levy at the Northwest Coordination Center in Portland says in some places, firefighters are digging additional lines in anticipation. But then there's the other concern – that more fires will start.

“There was something like 54 lightning starts in one area that eventually became the Douglas Complex," Levy explains. "So when you get a lightning storm like that, you can have dozens if not hundreds of starts. Lightning certainly complicates firefighting efforts."

The Douglas Complex in southern Oregon is now more than 25,000 acres. Parts of Douglas and Josephine counties have been evacuated. The Oregon National Guard has been mobilized to provide ground and air assistance.

In Washington, the Colockum Tarps Fire south of Wenatchee has rapidly grown to nearly 60,000 acres. The Kittitas County sheriff Wednesday morning issued an evacuation notice for residents in the path of the blaze. It's already destroyed several homes.

In Idaho, the Custer County sheriff evacuated homes along Challis Creek after the Lodgepole Fire made a rapid northeast turn.

On the Web:

InciWeb wildfire updates: Idaho - Oregon - Washington