RAINBOW LAKE, Wash. -- It could be another restless night for homeowners near Shelton as a wildfire continues to grow. Dry conditions were to blame for the fire's fast spread Thursday. On Friday, it was the wind and how the fire was creating health problems.
Smoke from the fire has created a smoky haze in the air, and Mason County health officials were encouraging elderly, young and pregnant residents to stay indoors due to the poor air quality. Residents who have lived in the area for decades say they've never seen the air quality this bad.
Virtually no rain for nearly two months has made Mason County tinder dry, helping the wildfire to grow to more than 200 acres. Early Friday morning, cool temperatures kept the fire contained and held the smoke below tree level. But midday, a steady breeze got things going again.
"When the breeze started picking up, we had awful smoke," said Gary Inman, homeowner.
The state lands commissioner said Washington hasn't seen wildfire conditions like this in October in a lifetime. The region has received only about 0.003 inches of rain since August.
"I don't remember the last time I was on a fire in Western Washington, let alone this time of year, with our breath showing and freezing temperatures," said fire information officer Sarah Foster.
About 100 homes in the Rainbow Lake area were still threatened, but conditions have not prompted evacuations. As many as 12 homes in the Johns Creek area were evacuated overnight, but residents were allowed to return home.
The Washington Department of Natural Resources planned to take command of the incident Friday, bringing in more resources to help fight the fire, about 30 percent contained. Fire crews named the wildfire the Power Line No. 2 fire because it also threatens a Bonneville Power Administration transmission line that feeds electricity to Shelton.
A red flag warning remains in effect on the west side of the Cascades. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for critical fire danger Thursday and Friday. Forecasters expect dry east winds to last through Saturday afternoon.
The fire started around 2 p.m. near Mason Lake Road and McQuinn/Prairie Road. It's not yet known what sparked the fire.
Washington extended a statewide burn ban until October 15.
KING 5's Drew Mikkelsen, Liza Javier and Lindsay Chamberlain contributed to this report.