Holiday weekend's hot, dry weather raises risk for wildfire

SEATTLE – Don’t let Wednesday’s cool, cloudy weather fool you – wildfire season is still among us.

The Washington State Department of Resources is urging caution for those playing, traveling or working outdoors through the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Some areas of Washington have not seen significant precipitation for more than 100 days. When heat and low humidity combine, firefighters say the risk for wildfire remains high.

“While Labor Day usually marks the end of summer, we’ve got a lot of the fire season left to go. We’re not seeing any relief from the hot, dry summer we’ve had anytime soon, creating conditions that could lead to explosive wildfire growth,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz in a news release. “So far this season, our firefighters have done a great job keeping fires small, but they’ve been stretched thin all summer, due to regional fire activity. I ask everyone to give them a break and be very aware of any activities that may spark new fires.”

Several fires were sparked on the western side of the Cascades on Tuesday.

One fire along Interstate 5 threatened a neighborhood near Kent, and sent firefighters scrambling to protect life and property.

According to the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon, more than 2,600 wildfires have been reported in both Washington and Oregon this season. Approximately 1,600 were believed to have been caused by human activity, and the remaining blamed on lightning strikes.

Q13 News This Morning’s M.J. McDermott predicts the warm weather will return in time for the Labor Day weekend, with temperatures expected to reach the mid-to-upper 80s. Q13 Chief Meteorologist Walter Kelley believes the temperatures on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday could be in the low 90s all three days.

The warm, dry weather has firefighters and other officials warning everyone to do what they can to prevent new wildfires.

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