First Red Flag Warning of the year issued for high fire danger amid warm, dry conditions

The first Red Flag Warning of the year has been issued for the west slopes of the north and central Cascades Tuesday.

“What this means is that fire behavior can be erratic, and growth can be very rapid and explosive,” said KIRO 7 Chief Meteorologist Morgan Palmer. “It’s a notice to firefighters that they could be encountering some very difficult conditions. For the rest of us, a Red Flag Warning simply means it’s extremely dry and fires can really take off.”

The highest fire danger is in the Cascades but also in the foothills and south and west of Seattle.

KIRO 7 Meteorologist Nick Allard said the warning stems from dry conditions, heat — which can cause low humidity — and breezy weather.

It’s also been dry enough that King County activated a burn ban for yard debris and residential burning 15 days earlier than it usually does.

“The reason that this is taking place early is — I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I certainly have: that my lawn is brown already, and I need to start watering my trees already, because it hasn’t rained significantly in almost a month,” said Eastside Fire & Rescue acting Battalion Chief Mike Tjosvold.


It is going to be a warm few days across the area with temperatures approaching, but likely not breaking, records by Wednesday. Highs on Tuesday will be in the 70s and 80s for most locations, and it will continue to be breezy at times. Breezes, combined with low humidity and unstable conditions have led to the first Red Flag Warning of the year in the Cascades. The fire danger will continue to be high on Wednesday, though winds might not be as strong.

Wednesday’s highs will be in the 80s and low 90s with the hottest temperatures in the Cascade foothills and through the Chehalis gap and far southern parts of the area. The forecast high for Seattle of 86° is four degrees shy of the daily record high.

The coast will be cooler Wednesday and the onshore push of cooler air will kick temperatures in the interior down around ten degrees by Thursday. So, highs in the upper-60s to upper-70s.

>>Download the KIRO 7 Weather App for conditions in your neighborhood

Friday will be an interesting day with the chance of a disturbance moving in from the southeast, kicking off a few showers across the area and a chance of mountain thunderstorms. It will not be as warm Friday with highs near 70 – about average.

Temperatures will warm back to the mid-70s in Seattle over the weekend and we should be mainly dry. It looks like we should warm back to around 80° by Monday.

Comments on this article