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Weather and Climate

Northwest Wildfire Season Heats Up

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InciWeb

The Northwest is gearing up for a heat wave starting this weekend that could push temperatures into the triple digits in parts of the region. That could make things difficult for firefighters battling flames on the front lines.

There are more large-scale wildfires burning in the Northwest than in any other part of the country right now. Most of those are in central and eastern Washington. The Mills Canyon fire north of Wenatchee quickly grew in size since it started Tuesday. Many homes have been evacuated and more residents have been told to prepare to leave.

The high heat and smoky conditions have prompted organizers of a nearby Native-American cultural festival to postpone their event until the fall.

Debbie Gallaher of the Chelan County PUD said, "We were so excited. We were ready to go. We had all of our presenters and then boom, we have a fire."

Cities across the region are opening cooling centers so people without air conditioning can catch a break from the heat. The hottest temperatures are expected in the Northwest interior east of the Cascade Range.