Red Flag Warning For Western Washington

SEATTLE -- Most of us are under a red flag warning right now.  That means we are ripe for fires and since the majority of fires are sparked by people, we can all do our part.

A half dozen Seattle firefighters are battling wildfires in Eastern Washington, but the threat is close to home.  It's simple things like not throwing your cigarette out your window or parking a car on dry grass.

“Temperatures, winds, relative humidity,” said Aaron Schmidt, the Washington Department of Natural Resources' assistant division manager for Fire Operations.

It’s everything needed for a Red Flag Warning.

“That’s the likelihood that a fire is going to start and it’s going to be resistance to control and it’s going to end up being a big fire,” said Schmidt.

So far this fire season, DNR firefighters responded to 592 fires scorching more than 14,000 acres statewide.  In just six days, they tell us 80 out of 82 fires were sparked by people.

“It’s so dry out there, we’re seeing fires starting for lawnmowers, from welding, things you typically get away with you’re just not now because it’s so hot and dry out.  I’m going to burn that pile of branches in the backyard -- that’s a bad deal,” said Schmidt.

The Tualatin Valley Fire Department demonstrated how quickly a brush fire can spread.  A brush fire in Seattle off I-90 near Corwin Place sparked twice.

“A fire that could normally be suppressed by one or two fire engines is now taking five fire engines, a hand crew, and a helicopter,” said Schmidt.

But all resources can’t be used all at once.

“Fighting the fires we have on the ground and remaining vigilant and prepositioning resources to the new fires as they will continue to start,” said Schmidt.

State Fire officials say even when cooler weather arrives, the fire danger lingers as those dry conditions stick around.