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Lightning sparks new wildfires

WENATCHEE – Fire crews scrambled to respond to reports of new wildfires sparked by lightning Thursday after thunderstorms swept through Central Washington, even as firefighters made progress on a fast-moving blaze that has burned wide swaths of land in two counties.

Hundreds of lightning strikes sparked reports of dozens of fires across the region, National Weather Service meteorologist Ty Judd said.

However, the storms also brought much-needed rain to some areas, and the agency issued flash-flood watches and warnings for several areas, he said.

New fires were reported in Okanogan, Douglas and Kittitas counties, and fire crews were en route, according to Jim Duck, operations coordinator for the Central Washington Interagency Dispatch Center.

Meanwhile, the fast-moving Colockum Tarps fire, which started south of Wenatchee and has burned across 125 square miles as it churned south and west, was 30 percent contained Thursday.

Farther south, the Mile Marker 28 fire near Goldendale was 65 percent contained. The fire has charred about 42 square miles near Satus Pass and forced the closure of U.S. Highway 97 for days.