Hot, dry weather prolongs brush fire threat to homes

KENT, Wash. – Our long streak of hot, dry weather continues to increase the risk for brush and wildland fires across the state.

Right now all of Western Washington is facing moderate risk, according to state department of natural resources, while Central and Eastern Washington was faring even worse.

Seattle firefighters responded to 20 brush fires from Friday through Sunday – including some where bark chips may have spontaneously combusted in the summer sun.

The bottom line, firefighters say, is there’s still time for preparation to keep your house from going up in smoke.

“The concern is pretty much the same that it could happen again,” said Kendra Rucker from Kent.

Rucker remembers a fire that spread quickly behind their house last summer. Firefighters battled flames that spread from I-5 and up into their backyards.

Just last Friday, a structure and a car were scorched in Pierce County after a wildfire exploded along SR-512.

“Even though its green its very dry,” said Capt. Jeff Bellinghausen form South King Fire & Rescue. “We’ve gone on 51 calls for brush fires this (season), that’s two or three a day."

Firefighters say now is the time for homeowners to empty their gutters, trim branches that drape over structures and create void space between landscaping and your house – those tips could keep your house from igniting during the next brushfire.

Until the temperatures fall and rain follows, firefighters say the risk will stick around.

“It’s only 75 degrees and a beautiful day the rest of this week, but it’s still fairly hot and dry,” added Bellinghausen. “To dry out the potting soils and the bark that we’ve got around our homes.”