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Crews make gains on massive Washington wildfire

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:56 p.m. MDT

A plane drops fire retardant over a wildfire as clouds of smoke billow behind and above Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash.

Elaine Thompson, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A destructive wildfire in Washington state has grown slightly but firefighters have made progress in their efforts to get it under control.

Fire spokeswoman Jessica Payne said the Carlton Complex of fires in north-central Washington had burned about 380 square miles, but the fire was 16 percent contained as of Tuesday morning. On Monday, the fire was just 2 percent contained.

Firefighters and local authorities have been heartened by weather forecasts that call for cooler temperatures and higher humidity as they battle the largest fire in state history. Payne said even though wetter weather has moved in, they still worry that lightning strikes could ignite more fires.

At just over 243,000 acres, the Carlton Complex is larger than the Yacolt Burn. That 1902 fire consumed 238,920 acres in southwestern Washington and was the largest recorded forest fire in state history, according to HistoryLink.org, an online resource of Washington state history.

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