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Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fire crews prepare for heavy rain Saturday at Williams Flats Fire

Fire crews battling the Williams Flats Fire are preparing for heavy rain Saturday and early Sunday. Burned earth is more likely to create flash flooding and mudslides, according to the National Weather Service. (National Weather Service)
Fire crews battling the Williams Flats Fire are preparing for heavy rain Saturday and early Sunday. Burned earth is more likely to create flash flooding and mudslides, according to the National Weather Service. (National Weather Service)

Firefighters at the 43,000-acre Williams Flats Fire on the Colville Reservation are preparing for heavy rain and flash flooding Saturday and Sunday.

Up to a quarter of an inch of rain could fall on recent burn scars from the fire, according to forecasts, and that could create dangerous flash flooding conditions. Mud and rock slides are also a concern.

The fire was 35% contained as of Saturday morning, up from 25% on Friday.

To prepare for the rain, firefighters bring their rain gear and have a plan to retreat to safe, non-drainage areas if the rain gets too heavy. Once there, they will wait out the rain, said Kathy Moses, spokeswoman for the Williams Flats Fire.

Moses said the rain would help firefighters with putting out the fire, but it’s not known if it will stop it completely.

“It will help the fire, but there’s certain spots with lots of tees where the understory might still be dry,” she said. “That rain might not make it all the way down to the ground.”

In the event of hail, air operations will likely be suspended because of the danger of flying in such conditions, she said.

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