High temperatures, low humidity has firefighters on alert

VIDEO: Firefighters on high alert as hot and dry weather hit

Crews continue to battle a massive fire in eastern Washington, but now conditions are becoming ripe for fire in western Washington as well.

A lot of people have been looking forward to this last blast of summer, but firefighters are not among them.

The dry conditions in the Issaquah Highlands are a prime example of why.

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Firefighters worry that anything could spark a fire in western Washington.

The Evergreen State is not living up to its name on this first Saturday in September, as much of the landscape is covered in brown, dry grass.

The hot dry weather headed our way is expected to make conditions even worse.

“This weekend, especially with the east winds and the recent precipitation deficit we’ve had,” said Josh Clark, fire meteorologist for the state Department of Natural Resources, “(with) the dry conditions we’ve had, any new fires that we get, especially with this weekend’s recreation, are going to be very challenging for firefighters.”

That ominous forecast may come true; crews are already weary from fighting fires across the state.

“We respond to, on average, anywhere between 15 and 30 new fires per day, just for DNR,” said Clark.  “Usually when July 4th, we are responding to 15 to 30 (fires) through about the first or second week of September.”

“We definitely have the potential up here,” said Eastside Fire Lt. Kyle Wood, “And I think we’ve just been lucky so far.”

Lt. Wood says so far we have been spared the destructive fires like the Evans Canyon fire, burning scores of acres near Yakima as well as those in California.

But he says homeowners should make sure to clear away anything that could burn.

“Any brush, you want to keep it away from your house,” said Lt. Wood. “Obviously if you have any wood piles, wood decks, just take some precautions with that.”

The DNR has burn bans in 16 counties, most of them here in western Washington.  King County has its own burn ban. So that means no fires, but no fireworks either.

Firefighters say if you see something, say something so that if any fires start, they won’t get out of control.