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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Obama Declares Washington Wildfire Emergency

A DC-10 air tanker pulls up after dropping fire retardant over a wildfire Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

A DC-10 air tanker pulls up after dropping fire retardant over a wildfire Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Wetter, cooler weather has helped firefighters make progress in their efforts to get the largest wildfire in Washington state’s history under control.

With more rain in the forecast, crews worry that moisture could lead to flash floods after so much ground vegetation has been burned away.

The Carlton Complex of fires, which has burned nearly 400 square miles in the north-central part of the state and destroyed 150 homes, was 16 percent contained as of Tuesday, fire spokeswoman Jessica Payne said.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch from Wednesday morning through evening because of expected heavy rainfall.

Obama signed an emergency declaration Wednesday because of wildfires burning the past two weeks in the state. The declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate disaster relief and help state and local agencies with equipment and resources.

Tom Banse of the Northwest News Network joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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