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Dry, windy conditions increasing risk of fires in western Washington

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for most of western Washington through Saturday due to hot, dry and breezy conditions.
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Dry grass burns on a sunny day.

WASHINGTON — A Red Flag Warning is in effect for most of western Washington through Saturday due to warm, dry and breezy conditions expected throughout the region.

The Cascades, Olympics and most lowland areas of western Washington will see hot, dry and windy conditions, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The warning went into effect for most areas of the Puget Sound lowlands and Olympic Peninsula at noon Friday and is set to expire Saturday at midnight, the NWS said.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for areas of the west slopes of the north and central Cascades (Fire Weather Zones 658 and 659) above 1,500 feet until 7 p.m. Sunday.

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A Red Flag Warning means critical fire weather conditions are either imminent or occurring now. Any fires that develop will likely spread quickly and outdoor burning is not recommended.

The NWS asked residents to obey all local burn bans, saying “fires will start and spread quickly” in the current conditions.

In addition to the fire danger, smoke from existing fires in eastern Washington is hanging over the region.

RELATED: Western Washington Forecast

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said they expect wildfire smoke from eastern Washington to continue to spread into the region Friday and into the weekend with levels that could be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources tweeted that in addition to the "already critical fire weather conditions" there will also be increased wind from the east. This could result in "severe wildfire activity around the state."

Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-80s on Friday and could get up to the low 90s in some areas on Saturday.

A combination of moderate breezes, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to the spread of existing fires. If a fire were to begin, air quality may diminish in the surrounding area, according to the NWS.

The NWS offered tips on how stay safe during high fire risk:

  • Don't burn anything outdoors when it's hot, windy or when vegetation is dry.
  • Be sure no metal car parts drag on the ground and be careful not to park on dry grass.
  • Always keep a hose nearby when mowing a dry lawn.
  • When grilling, do not grill near dry vegetation and make sure that the charcoal used is cool to the touch before throwing it away.

A little cooling is expected on Sunday, but it will still quite warm and hazy for this time of year.

Onshore winds return Monday bringing low morning clouds to the Puget Sound region, but it will still be a sunny day with highs mostly in the 70s. Conditions should be good for the Seahawks' home opener versus the Broncos Monday night at Lumen Field.

We settle back into a more seasonal pattern of morning clouds and afternoon sun for midweek with highs in the low 70s.

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