Firefighters Making Progress in Wildfires, Senators Asking for Help
- Firefighters are making progress in their efforts to get the largest wildfire in Washington state's history under control, with wetter weather bringing some relief but also raising concerns about flash flooding.
The Carlton Complex of fires has burned nearly 400 square miles in the north-central part of the state. Fire spokeswoman Jessica Payne said it was 16 percent contained as of Tuesday.
Firefighters and local authorities have been heartened by forecasts that call for cooler temperatures and higher humidity. But even though wetter weather has moved in, they worry that lightning strikes could ignite more fires.
Rain also brings worries about the potential for flash flooding because so much ground vegetation has been burned away.
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch from Wednesday morning through Wednesday evening due to expected heavy rainfall.
- Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell were among a dozen U.S. senators who sent a letter to Senate leaders asking for passage of emergency legislation to allocate $615 million for use in fighting wildfires.
The letter, sent Tuesday, was also signed by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Jon Tester and John Walsh of Montana.
Fires are currently burning in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and California, and both Oregon and Washington have declared states of emergency.
The letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski and committee ranking member Richard Shelby.