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Originally published Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 10:44 AM

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Firefighters gaining on Washington wildfires

Thousands of firefighters are still battling five major wildfires in Eastern Washington that have burned a total of 186 square miles, but managers are increasingly confident they're gaining control.

Associated Press

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SEATTLE —

Thousands of firefighters are still battling five major wildfires in Eastern Washington that have burned a total of 186 square miles, but managers are increasingly confident they're gaining control.

The state Emergency Operations Center is returning Thursday to normal status. Spokesman Mark Clemens says state mobilizations ended this week, leaving the major firefighting under the Department of Natural Resources.

Department Communications Director Bryan Flint in Olympia says they're getting a handle on the fires and conditions should continue to improve with cool nights and increasing humidity.

There's still no forecast of significant rain, which is what's needed to extinguish the wildfires. Crews are improving containment by building fire lines.

At the Table Mountain Fire near Cle Elum, firefighters are conducting back burns using flaming "ping pong balls" dropped from helicopters.

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