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‘Not out of the woods completely’ for fire season in Eastern Washington

Firefighters Kyle Parker (L), Battalion Chief Bob Horst (C), and Sam Hochstatter from the Grant County Fire Department work to secure the fire line on the Cold Springs Fire on Sept. 10, 2020 in Omak, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

The fire season in Western Washington is likely over for the year, especially with the rain and wet weather this week, but the same may not be true for Eastern Washington.

National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Schneider says the east side of the state isn’t seeing as much rain as the region west of the Cascades.

Fire danger is probably reduced, he added, but it’s premature to say the fire season is over.

“For Western Washington, [fire season] probably is [over], but it’s not for certain,” Schneider said. “We do dry out next week, for example. And since we’ve had all the rain, and we’re having more rain the next few days, it probably won’t be a threat.”

“For Eastern Washington, they don’t get nearly as much rain from these systems so they still have fire concerns,” he added. “They’re definitely not as bad as it’s been up until recently, but they’re still going to have some fire concerns probably for the next few weeks.”

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While the rain does help reduce the risk of wildfires, Schneider says this is only the start of the wet season for Washington.

“The rain definitely helps with the fire concerns right now, but we’re not out of the woods completely because it’s still just the very start of the wet season,” he said. “And we could have a dry period for a week or two in Eastern Washington, and that would dry the fuels out pretty quickly again.”

That said, the meteorologist did say fire season should end in October for both sides of the state.

“One way or the other, the end is coming because we are almost into October at this point,” Schneider said. “So we’re definitely on the downside of where you’d expect fire concerns once you get into October.”

Wildfires have burned more than 800,000 acres this year in Washington state.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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