Western Washington fire danger: Brush fires quickly erupt along highways, disrupting traffic

SEATTLE -- Several brush fires broke out along highways in the area Wednesday, slowing or blocking afternoon traffic and sending firefighters rushing to put out one blaze after another.

Flames even raced up dry fir trees along Interstate 5 in the SeaTac /Des Moines  area, sending heavy smoke and embers up into the air and forcing the closure of at least two southbound lanes due to smoke and firefighting equipment.

No injuries were reported.

As the fire moved up the hillside on the west side of I-5, it began to approach homes, an apartment complex, and several large water towers, Kent Regional Fire Authority.

Fire crews from the Kent RFA and other departments worked quickly to fight the fire both along the freeway and above to protect the homes and property at the top of the hill, which were in the city of SeaTac, a spokesman said. No homes were damaged, though the dry grass around the water towers was burned.

Because of the amount of water used on the fire and the number of old cigarette butts along the freeway, it is unlikely that a cause for the fire will be discovered, the Kent RFA spokesman said.

"If anyone witnessed anything that will help investigators determine a cause, they are asked to call 911 with that information," he said.

There were also roadside fires along southbound State Route 599 just south of SR99 and Pacific Highway interchange. The right lane was blocked there for firefighting efforts.


Authorities reminded drivers not to throw cigarette butts out of their car windows, especially in these dry, hot conditions.