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June wildfires not uncommon for Washington

The 243 Fire is one of the earliest fires seen in Washington in recent memory, but June is the month large wildfire can break out.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Many people have said that it seems too early for the beginning of wildfire season in Washington but it turns out June wildfires are not uncommon in the state. 

This is about the time of year that Washington state sees its first major wildfire of the year.

Authorities say the Highway 243 Fire sparked near Royal City at about 9 p.m. on Monday. It has since prompted Level 1, 2 and 3 evacuations in the surrounding area.   

The fire has burned more than 5,000 acres at last check, authorities said. 

Just last year, the first major fire was the Soap Lake Fire on June 11. This fire was also in Grant County. 

RELATED: 'It's really nerve-racking': Evacuations remain in place for Highway 243 Fire in Grant Co.

The Sutherland Canyon Fire and Straight Hollow Fire in June 2017 burned tens-of-thousands of acres.

In 2015, the Sleepy Hollow Fire in Chelan County was a June wildfire that ultimately destroyed 29 homes.

This is consistent with what Washington can consider a "dry season" as rainfall drops off in the summer, particularly in July, August, and September. An early season dry spell in June can often kick start an active fire.

While the wildfire outlook for 2019 is above average for most of Washington due to dry and drought conditions, the Highway 243 Fire is occurring in an area that is not considered "Abnormally Dry" at this time. 

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