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SEATTLE — Cooler temperatures and some rain may aid firefighters trying to control a massive complex of fires in north-central Washington that is now the largest wildfire in state history.

Fire crews made progress Tuesday with officials estimating the Carlton Complex Fire at 16% contained, up from 2% on Monday.

"If the weather holds, as it is now, we may have more success today," fire spokesperson Jessica Payne said Tuesday.

Winds were not expected to be a problem Tuesday evening. Forecasters said a stormy day Wednesday could bring heavy rain to western Washington and thunderstorms to eastern Washington where lightning could spark new wildfires.

Payne said the wetter weather also brought concerns about the potential for flash flooding as a result of loss of ground vegetation that has been burned away.

There is a Red Flag Warning through 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time Wednesday in the southern part of the state and between the Cascades and the Washington-Idaho border. The biggest threat is frequent lightning combined with possible 40 mph winds and dry fuels.

The fire has burned about 400 square miles — more than four times the size of Seattle — making it the largest wildfire in the state since record-keeping started.

In all, some 150 homes have been lost in the Carlton Complex Fire and 1,200 homes have been evacuated in 12 towns.

Many towns in the scenic Methow Valley remain without power and have limited landline and cellphone service. Fully restoring power to the area could take weeks, Okanogan County Public Utility District officials told KREM-TV in Spokane.

The towns of Brewster, Pateros, Twisp and Winthrop were temporarily powering water systems and sewer services by generator, said Mark Clemens, a spokesman at the state Emergency Operations Center.

The state estimates that about 7,000 electricity customers are without power, Clemens said.

More than 100 Washington National Guard soldiers are supporting state Department of Natural Resources firefighters, Clemens added. National Guard helicopters have dropped more than 500,000 gallons of water on the fires.

The Carlton Complex Fire started as four smaller fires sparked by lightning July 14. Those fires merged into a 28-square-mile fire by Thursday night before expanding to nearly 336 square miles by Saturday.

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At more than 250,000 acres, the Carlton Complex is larger than the 1902 Yacolt Burn, which consumed 238,920 acres in southwestern Washington and was the largest recorded forest fire in state history, according to HistoryLink.org, an online resource of Washington state history.

The fire is being blamed for one death. Rob Koczewski, 67, died of an apparent heart attack Saturday while he and his wife were hauling water and digging fire lines near their home. Koczewski was a retired Washington State Patrol trooper and U.S. Marine.

The number of homes destroyed remained at 150, Payne said.

President Barack Obama arrived in the state for a fundraiser, and Gov. Jay Inslee was scheduled to meet with him in the afternoon to provide a briefing on the fires.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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