Hot, dry conditions will increase wildfire risk this weekend

With weekend temperatures expected to soar into the high 70s this weekend and possibly even breaking into 80 degrees in certain areas, including western Washington, fire risk is on the rise in the evergreen state.

Combined with drought conditions in some parts of the state and forecasted east-northeast wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour, the Department of Natural Resources is warning residents of a higher wildfire risk.

In a statement released Friday, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz asked residents to hold off on burning debris until the temperatures cool down early next week.

DNR has already responded to 230 wildfires this year, 120 of which were caused by residents burning debris, Franz said.

“Ensuring our firefighters stay healthy for wildfire season is critical,” Franz said. “With abnormally dry conditions expected in most of Washington, we could see more outdoor burning debris piles escape and cause wildfires. I urge all residents to keep an eye on their burn piles at all times and avoid using equipment that could spark a wildfire, such as a chainsaw. It takes all of us to prevent forest fires.”

Some tips provided by the DNR to ensure fire safety:

  • Only build campfires when and where authorized, and put them completely out.
  • Make sure all off-road vehicles have a properly functioning catalytic converter or approved spark arrester.
  • Dispose of lit smoking materials appropriately.
  • Remember that discharging fireworks or use of incendiary ammunition or exploding targets is illegal on public lands.
  • Anyone who spots a wildfire should call 911 as soon as possible to report it. Please do not call media to ask about a fire before calling 911.