Authorities Prepare For Large Wash. Fires To Merge

By: AP
By: AP

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- Wildfire crews in Washington state have twin worries today with the possible merger of a pair of big blazes and dry lightning in the weather forecast.

The lightning storm forecast to sweep through the region could ignite even more fires and bring little to no rain.

Thousands of firefighters have been working to steer the fires away from scattered hillside homes and entire communities, awaiting the fall rains or mountain snow that typically end the wildfire season. But there's no end in sight yet, though firefighters have largely been able to protect homes and structures.

Thick smoke has blanketed the immediate area of the fires and beyond, forcing one school district to cancel classes entirely. State health officials sent more than 20,000 respirator masks to the region.

The 47-square-mile Table Mountain fire could merge with another large blaze southwest of Wenatchee.

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