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Lightning strikes bring new wildfires in Pacific Northwest

Large wildfires continued to burn in Oregon and Washington as lightning strikes started new ones.
By Frances Burns   |   Aug. 13, 2014 at 3:35 PM
| License Photo
PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Thunderstorms in Oregon and Washington started at least 65 new wildfires in 24 hours, officials said.

The two states were hit by about 10,000 lightning strikes.

Both states, like California, have been hit with an epidemic of wildfires this year. The region has been in a prolonged drought, with dried brush and grass needing only a spark to set it off.

Carol Connolly, a spokeswoman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, said the new fires posed little danger to people. Most were extinguished while they were still small, and the three that spread are in uninhabited rangeland.

Of the 65 new fires, 59 were in Oregon. Several large blazes continued to burn in both states.

In Oregon, the Sommers fire near Enterprise in the state's northeast corner remained uncontained after spreading across 27,000 acres, while the South Fork complex south of John Day, was also growing at almost 65,000 acres and was 30 percent contained. Ranches and historic buildings were in danger from both fires.

The Carlton Complex, the largest fire in the history of Washington State, was 95 percent contained almost a month after it was first reported. The fire spread across about 400 square miles in its early days.

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