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Washington state wildfires may merge into larger blaze

Smoke from a wildfire in central Washington state is seen in this September photo.

September 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fire crews in Washington state are fearing that two large wildfires may merge into an even bigger blaze on Saturday.

One of the fires has scorched about 9,500 acres southwest of Wenatchee since breaking out two weeks ago. Officials believe it was sparked by lightning.

The other fire burning nearby has scorched about 40,000 acres in the Table Mountain region. Officials say if the fires merge, the blaze would be bigger than the city of Seattle.

Thousands of firefighters have been steering the flames away from communities, awaiting rain or mountain snow that typically ends the wildfire season. But there is no end in sight, though firefighters have been able to protect homes and structures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.