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Wildfire Season Not Over Yet In Pacific Northwest

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Wildfire season is not over yet, despite the widespread rains of the last couple weeks.

Fire crews mobilized Tuesday to fight a big new range fire in south-central Washington. At last check, it threatened about 20 homes in the hills south of Mabton.

Separately, Forest Service firefighters are on the scene of a lightning-sparked blaze east of Prineville, Oregon. It smoldered for days before it was detected and has now burned 200 acres of grass and timber.

Northwest Interagency Coordination Center spokeswoman Carol Connolly says we're typically in wildfire season through the end of September to early October.

"One of the things that we are looking at is what we call a 'season-ending event,'" explains Connolly. "A lot of times that comes in as heavy downpours -- rain of long term duration. This one/two day stuff is not a season ending event."

Connolly says fire managers are monitoring a forecast for increased risk of lightning as the weekend approaches. Seasonal restrictions on campfires and debris burning remain in place throughout most of the Northwest.

Western Washington is one area where the campfire ban has been lifted.

On the Web:

Northwest large fire map - Northwest Interagency Coordination Center 

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.