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Weather hampers firefighting, air quality in region

Sat., July 19, 2014, midnight

Little relief is in sight for firefighters trying to contain major wildfires in Central Washington.

Hot temperatures and gusting winds are predicted again today after a lightning storm on Monday triggered new blazes across the region.

In Brewster, where firefighters are trying to save hundreds of homes and businesses, the forecast calls for a high of 89 and wind gusts peaking at 23 mph today. Winds should increase to gusts at 32 mph tonight at the fire scene.

National Weather Service forecasters said cooler marine air spilling over the Cascades has increased humidity levels, giving only small help to fire suppression work.

A “red flag” alert for fire danger remains in effect until 9 tonight . An air-quality alert remained in effect through the weekend across the Inland Northwest.

Winds near the fire today will move from the northwest to the west, changing the pattern of smoke dispersal.

The winds should ease on Sunday, when a high of 90 is expected.

In Spokane, air quality improved early Friday, but then deteriorated later in the day to a rating of unhealthy for the general population.

Smoke is expected to linger through Sunday, at least.

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