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Lightning In Forecast Makes Northwest Fire Crews Wary

Spc. Matthew Burnett, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. An Oregon Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter prepares to dump a "Bambi" bucket of water on a fire line near The Dalles, Ore.

Weather forecasters are predicting more lightning throughout the Northwest over the next few days. That could make things tougher for fire fighters, who are already battling several large wildfires throughout the region.

John Saltenberger is a meteorologist with the Northwest Coordination Center in Portland. He says the storms moving across Oregon and Washington do contain rain. But he adds, "We're anticipating that the number of lightning strikes occurring, even with the rain, could pose a problem for firefighters to find all those fires and put them out before they have a chance of getting large and costly."

Saltenberger says the storminess could spill over into Idaho this weekend.

He says the Northwest has experienced a higher number of lightning strikes than normal this summer. In one 24-hour period earlier this month, he says forecasters measured more than 24,000 lightning bolts in Oregon and Washington.