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Firefighters have mostly contained the Williams Flats Fire, which had burned 44,515 acres on the Colville Indian Reservation as of Wednesday, making it the largest wildfire in the state this year.
Weekend storms brought much-needed rain to the Inland Northwest over the week.
Thunderstorms dropped heavy rain on two wildfires in Colville on Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning, slowing the blazes, along with fire personnel, in their tracks.
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.
An hourslong rain shower helped firefighters stifle the Williams Flats Fire in the Colville Reservation on Friday. But it was not enough to put it out.
The main source of Spokane’s smoky air, the Williams Flats Fire, reached the shoreline of Lake Roosevelt on Thursday morning. As of noon, it had burned 34,178 acres and was about 25% contained.
Temperatures soared in Spokane on Wednesday to 98 degrees, the highest recorded temperature this summer, as wildfire smoke settled across the region. That made air quality unhealthy. And conditions are expected to get worse before they get better.
Spokane got its first whiff of the 2019 wildfire season Saturday night, and wind could continue to bring widespread haze south from a wildfire on the Colville Indian Reservation in the evenings early this week. The city also is expected to see the hottest days of the year so far Monday through Wednesday, according to National Weather Service forecasts.
About 5,640 acres of grass and brush have burned, and the fire was zero percent contained as of Saturday at 5 p.m.
The Sulphur Fire in Franklin County had burned 1,000 acres and the Williams Flats Fire in Ferry County in the Colville Reservation was estimated at 400 acres Friday afternoon.