Created: 09/01/2015 4:21 PM
By: By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Lower temperatures and higher humidity helped firefighters Tuesday as they tried to control giant wildfires burning in north-central Washington.
A wildfire north of Nespelem that burned 320 square miles was 25 percent contained on Tuesday morning. Fire officials said a 252-square mile fire burning just west of there was 30 percent contained.
"The weather is really helping," fire spokesman Donnie Davis said.
Highs that had been in the 90s recently were in the 60s now, and humidity had more than doubled into the 40s, Davis said.
Meanwhile, the Okanogan Complex of wildfires was measured at 225 square miles and was 40 percent contained. This had been the largest wildfire in state history until more than half was split off this week by fire managers into a separately-managed blaze.
The Okanogan Complex has cost $13.7 million to fight so far, and 1,244 firefighters remain on the lines, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The fire killed three firefighters on Aug. 18, injured four others, and has burned more than 100 structures.
In Seattle, the firefighter most severely injured in the Okanogan fire is making progress, but he's not out of danger yet. His doctor and parents said at a news conference Tuesday at Harborview Medical Center that Daniel Lyon was responding well to his treatment. But the 25-year-old is in constant pain from the burns he suffered over 60 percent of his body on Aug. 19 and infections are a constant worry for burn victims.
In other states:
Evacuation notices of various levels remain in effect in west-central Idaho, where a wildfire burning in timber expanded by 12 square miles to 135 square miles Tuesday. Crews were working to protect structures along the Salmon River corridor and rafters were being stopped and evacuated before entering the fire perimeter. In northern Idaho, a 53-square-mile fire is within 5 miles of the Fenn Ranger Station, built in 1936 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Evacuation warnings remain for those threatened by a wildfire south of John Day, but mild weather helped crews fighting the blaze that has burned 165 square miles and destroyed 43 homes. Fire spokeswoman Stacey Weems said the fire is 49 percent contained.
Authorities lifted an evacuation notice Tuesday afternoon for 30 homes bordering a brush fire that was burning near the mouth of a Salt Lake City-area canyon. The fire moved away from homes Tuesday afternoon and officials felt it was safe enough for residents to return, though 60 nearby homes were still considered threatened as shifting winds continued to churn the blaze.
(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)