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Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

After 47 days without rain, relief comes for burning regions

UPDATED: Sat., Sept. 26, 2020

Charlize Wright, 9, left, and Jocelyn Quigley, 9, walk hand-in-hand Friday as they lead 15 family members through the rain on their way to the Numerica SkyRide at Riverfront Park.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Charlize Wright, 9, left, and Jocelyn Quigley, 9, walk hand-in-hand Friday as they lead 15 family members through the rain on their way to the Numerica SkyRide at Riverfront Park. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Before Tuesday, Spokane saw the 16th-longest dry spell on record since meteorologists started recording rain locally in 1881.

That period of 47 days without measurable precipitation coincided with warm, dry winds that fueled fires across Washington, according to Travis Wilson, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Rain had last fallen on August 6, and the record is 80 days.

By 6 p.m. Friday, more than a third of an inch of rain had fallen since the week’s start, bringing with it about a 20-degree temperature drop and relief to fiery areas.

Rain has helped cool down hot spots in the Inchelium Complex fire, but was not enough to put it completely out. It was 19,399 acres and 85% contained as of Friday.

The Whitney fire is almost entirely contained. The Babb-Malden fire, no longer a threat, has reduced enough so that it does not register on the Department of Natural Resources fire map.

The Bernard fire in North Idaho was 75% contained as of Friday evening. The Hunter 2 fire west of Bernard was completely contained, while the Callahan fire northeast of Bernard neared 70% containment.

Back in Washington, the Cold Springs fire remains at 95% containment. The Pearl Hill fire reached 94% Sept. 16 while the Apple Acres fire just west of it reached 99% containment Sept. 15.

The cool relief will pass, though, as temperatures in the upper 70s return next week, Wilson said.

“Nothing like what we saw before, though,” Wilson said.

Editor’s note: This story was updated September 26 to correct the date of the area’s last rainfall before Tuesday. 

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