Heavy rains Friday helped firefighters nearly contain an 18,500-acre fire that destroyed five homes near this south-central Washington community.
Authorities finished clearing a trail around the blaze and anticipated reopening a road Saturday that would allow people evacuated from some 70 homes to return.No serious injuries were reported in the blaze, although a herd of 143 cattle died when the animals were trapped in a canyon.
Washington fires claimed one life this week when rancher Bob Heider, 64, was killed by a fast-moving fire that overtook his combine in a wheat field in eastern Washington. That 20,000-acre fire was contained Thursday.
Soaking rains helped crews fighting the fire near Bickleton, which was started Monday by a lightning strike. Firefighters had spent much of the week sweating in temperatures over 100 degrees.
While some locally heavy rains dropped in Texas and Oklahoma, most of the region found little reprieve Friday from the deadly heat blamed for at least 144 deaths since May.
Oklahoma firefighters also have struggled with wildfires in recent weeks. Churning clouds of black smoke spilled out of a logging company's pine plantation Friday. The blaze was out of control and headed to the Mountain Fork River, where campers were being evacuated.
The fire was one of 12 to 15 new ones in a region where more than 8,300 acres in and around the Ouachita National Forest had burned since July 1. Most of the fires have been blamed on arson.