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Severe thunderstorms that rolled through the Pacific Northwest overnight sparked dozens of new wildfires in parched forests in Washington and Oregon, while heavy rain led to flooding and the drowning death of one person, officials said Wednesday. In much of Oregon, the air was so dry that the Tuesday night rainfall evaporated before hitting the ground, allowing lightning and winds to start and fuel fires, said Jean Nelson-Dean, spokeswoman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. Lightning struck Oregon more than 7,000 times in 24 hours, starting scores of mostly small new blazes, according to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center.



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