HEAT WAVE: Officials warn against outdoor burning amid high fire danger

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Officials are urging people across Washington state to refrain from having any campfires or setting off fireworks as hot, breezy weather poses a severe risk of wildfires.

Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark on Wednesday expanded a statewide fire ban to prohibit all outdoor burning — including campfires in fire pits and the use of charcoal briquettes — on state forests and parks protected by the Department of Natural Resources. Goldmark says the greatest fire danger right now comes from carelessness.

“After a relatively mild summer, we are entering a period of critical fire weather on both sides of the Cascades,” said Goldmark. “The greatest fire danger right now comes from carelessness. It’s essential that people understand the risks involved and do not spark any fires.”

The National Weather Service is issuing similar warnings, asking people not to burn anything outside, not to toss burning materials from vehicles and not to use fireworks.

Q13 Meteorologist Tim Joyce says Thursday is the first day of our Excessive Heat Advisory.  The coast and areas around Bellingham will warm near record territory and by Friday many areas will be in the top tier of hot weather as highs reach in the low 90s.  Saturday remains in the upper 80s to 90s.

With temperatures in the 80s and 90s for about 3 days, the National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Watch Thursday through Saturday evening at 10pm.

“Our fire crews have been effective so far this season in keeping fires small and getting them out quickly,” said Goldmark. “I ask all Washingtonians to give them a hand by being careful and responsible when working or playing on our iconic landscapes.”

Heat exhaustion and dehydration are a big concern for us in the days ahead.  Please prepare with plenty of water, sunscreen, and shade.

This fire season has been mild so far, with 527 fires burning less than 3,400 acres. State officials say that at this point last year, there had been 803 fires burning 320,000 acres.