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News / Northwest

Early start to Washington’s wildfire season has officials worried

By Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times
Published: April 20, 2021, 11:42am

Last week was the first time the Seattle area hit 70 degrees this year and already wildfire concerns are upon us.

The state Department of Natural Resources responded to 91 fires last week and is gearing up for what could be a bad season with a temporary burn ban on state lands in some parts of Western Washington and the Puget Sound.

The temporary burn restrictions on DNR-protected lands have extended to South Puget Sound in addition to the Northeast, Northwest and Pacific Cascade region, the agency said.

“Higher than normal temperatures, low relative humidity, low moisture content in ground fuel, lack of precipitation, expected high east wind, and multiple wildland brush fires” make the ban prudent, the agency said on its website.

The Green Valley Fire, east of Auburn in King County, which started Sunday from a burn pile that got out of control, led to Level 2 evacuations in the immediate area. That means residents were told the fire risk was significant and they should consider evacuating or be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

The brush fire was contained Monday after it burned 50 acres, officials said.

The National Weather Service has also warned that continued dry and warm temperatures have dried out grasses, making fires more likely.