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Flash floods hinder crews working to extinguish Williams Flats Fire

Heavy rain caused problems for crews working the fire, but the wet conditions helped contain flames.

FERRY COUNTY, Wash. — The rain that rolled in this weekend turned out to be a bit of a double-edged sword for crews working on the Williams Flats Fire. 

The two inches of rain helped crews with their containment efforts on the Williams Flats Fire, but flash floods gave relief efforts some trouble.

On Saturday, 64 firefighters were stranded overnight after what was originally a trickle of water turned into a raging river. Fortunately, those firefighters all got out safe on Sunday morning.

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“It was a matter of waiting for dawn when there wasn't any of the torrential water flooding happening,” Northwest Interahency Incident Management spokesman Michael Krueger said. “We pulled everyone out and they were out working yesterday morning. There were other ways to get in and that's what we needed to find out.”

Flooding becomes a problem because difficult conditions become even harder to navigate and make it tougher to get in and out. The clay turns into a very slick and slippery surface and Krueger said that has caused some of the equipment to get stranded.

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Crews are assessing how to get bulldozers and other heavy pieces out of the area, but they need solid ground before they can be transporte. Otherwise, it's too dangerous to move.

The good news is that crews are no longer in panic mode regarding the fire. Although it isn't completely out yet, it has become manageable and a Type 3 team is moving in on Wednesday and they'll be responsible for the mop-up effort.

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