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Helpful weather coming to Washington wildfires

  • An American Flag waves in the breeze as a wildfire approaches on Friday, July 18, 2014, in Malott, Wash.  (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Tyler Tjomsland)

    An American Flag waves in the breeze as a wildfire approaches on Friday, July 18, 2014, in Malott, Wash. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Tyler Tjomsland)

  • The Watermelon Hill fire consumes trees after crossing Pine Springs Road near Fish Trap, Wash., Saturday July 19, 2014. The wildfire is growing rapidly and is moving in a southeast direction toward timber. A level three evacuation order has been given to people living near the path of the fire. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Colin Mulvany)

    The Watermelon Hill fire consumes trees after crossing Pine Springs Road near Fish Trap, Wash., Saturday July 19, 2014. The wildfire is growing rapidly and is moving in a southeast direction toward timber. A level three evacuation order has been given to people living near the path of the fire. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Colin Mulvany)

  • A collection of vintage cars smolder after a wildfire burnt through them on Friday, July 18, 2014, near Malott, Wash. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Tyler Tjomsland)

    A collection of vintage cars smolder after a wildfire burnt through them on Friday, July 18, 2014, near Malott, Wash. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Tyler Tjomsland)

  • A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant over a wildfire as smoke rises and billows behind Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

    A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant over a wildfire as smoke rises and billows behind Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • Firefighters Alex Keller, left, and Jacey Mesteth sharpen their tools as they wait to be deployed to a fire line Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Winthrop, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

    Firefighters Alex Keller, left, and Jacey Mesteth sharpen their tools as they wait to be deployed to a fire line Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Winthrop, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • Firefighter Kathleen Calvin looks around as she sits atop her fire truck while waiting to begin work as smoke from a wildfire fills the sky behind Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Winthrop, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

    Firefighter Kathleen Calvin looks around as she sits atop her fire truck while waiting to begin work as smoke from a wildfire fills the sky behind Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Winthrop, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • A firefighting plane drops water from Fishtrap Lake on a stubborn fire burning near the lake in Lincoln County, Sunday, July 20, 2014, near Cheney, Wash.  The fire started Saturday afternoon and spread to several thousand acres, driven by high winds.  (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Jesse Tinsley)    COEUR D'ALENE PRESS OUT

    A firefighting plane drops water from Fishtrap Lake on a stubborn fire burning near the lake in Lincoln County, Sunday, July 20, 2014, near Cheney, Wash. The fire started Saturday afternoon and spread to several thousand acres, driven by high winds. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Jesse Tinsley) COEUR D'ALENE PRESS OUT

  • A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant over a wildfire Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

    A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant over a wildfire Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

  • An American Flag waves in the breeze as a wildfire approaches on Friday, July 18, 2014, in Malott, Wash.  (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Tyler Tjomsland)
  • The Watermelon Hill fire consumes trees after crossing Pine Springs Road near Fish Trap, Wash., Saturday July 19, 2014. The wildfire is growing rapidly and is moving in a southeast direction toward timber. A level three evacuation order has been given to people living near the path of the fire. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Colin Mulvany)
  • A collection of vintage cars smolder after a wildfire burnt through them on Friday, July 18, 2014, near Malott, Wash. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Tyler Tjomsland)
  • A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant over a wildfire as smoke rises and billows behind Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
  • Firefighters Alex Keller, left, and Jacey Mesteth sharpen their tools as they wait to be deployed to a fire line Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Winthrop, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
  • Firefighter Kathleen Calvin looks around as she sits atop her fire truck while waiting to begin work as smoke from a wildfire fills the sky behind Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Winthrop, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
  • A firefighting plane drops water from Fishtrap Lake on a stubborn fire burning near the lake in Lincoln County, Sunday, July 20, 2014, near Cheney, Wash.  The fire started Saturday afternoon and spread to several thousand acres, driven by high winds.  (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Jesse Tinsley)    COEUR D'ALENE PRESS OUT
  • A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant over a wildfire Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Cooler temperatures and lighter winds are forecast to descend on wildfire-stricken Washington state, helping firefighters battle flames that have been growing unfettered for a week and have covered hundreds of square miles.

While yesterday’s weather had slight improvements on the hot temperatures and gusty winds that have fueled the wildfires, the forecast for today and tomorrow calls for lighter winds and temperatures, said National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Koch.

“Overall, it looks like the weather scenario is improving,” Koch said.

Then on Wednesday a “vigorous” front is expected to cover Washington, bringing rain to much of the state. But it will also bring lightning, he added.

“The benefits of the system are still up in the air,” Koch said. “We may get some rain where we need it, but we may also experience some lightning that could cause some new ignitions.”

Yesterday’s official estimate puts the wildfire burning in north-central Washington at more than 370 square miles. It measured 260 square miles Friday.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers estimates that 150 homes have been destroyed, but suspects that number could be higher. His deputies haven’t been able to search parts of the county where homes are spread miles apart. No serious injuries have been reported, Rogers said.

There are nearly 1,400 firefighters battling the flames, assisted by more than 100 fire engines, helicopters dropping buckets of water and planes spreading flame retardant.

Yesterday, Rogers was driving to the town of Twisp to survey the damage.

“It’s the first time in four days I’ve seen blue sky,” he said. “Every day, when you got up, it was nothing but smoke. All we’ve seen of the sun is a red ball.”

Although the weather is improving, the towns in the scenic Methow Valley remain without power and have limited landline and cell phone service. Okanogan County Public Utility District officials told KREM that fully restoring power to the area could take weeks.

Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday about 50 fires were burning in Washington, which has been wracked by hot, dry weather, gusting winds and lightning. About 2,000 firefighters were working in the eastern part of the state, with about a dozen helicopters from the Department of Natural Resources and the National Guard, along with a Washington State Patrol spotter plane.

Karina Shagren, spokeswoman for the state’s Military Department, said 100 National Guard troops were on standby, and up to 1,000 more in Yakima could receive additional fire training. Active-duty military could be called in as well, Inslee said.

The Washington state Department of Natural Resources announced Saturday evening that firefighters from New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming were coming to the state to help.

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