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Fire Danger Increases On Saturday

Red Flag Warning issued for east of the I-5 corridor including Renton.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Seattle has issued a Red Flag Warning for Isolated Dry Lightning and excessively dry fuels from 2 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, September 22.

The NWS cancelled the Fire Weather Watch issued earlier in the day Friday. Much of the Puget Sound Region has received very little or no rain since July 4. This has created a high fire danger where grasses have dried and are ready to burn. The dry grass conditions are in addition to debris from last winter's storms, both or which increase fire danger over the weekend, or until the Pacific Northwest experiences rainfall.

Renton Fire and Emergency Services responded September 17 to a brush fire in the 300 block of Vuemont Plance N.E. and threatened a nearby apartment complex. The fire was likely sparked by a discarded cigarette or other hot object.

Much of Central Washington continues to burn around the Cle Elum, Wenatchee and Ellensburg areas. The Table Mountain Fire and the Wenatchee Complex Fire are likely to merge into one large fire sometime Friday or Saturday, according to officials. State Highway 97 over Blewett Pass remained temporary closed until 6 p.m. on Friday and will likely stay closed during the day Saturday as fire danger is extremely high and there's still a threat of fire moving across the highway. 

Both fires were started by an extensive, severe lightning storm that occurred the evening of Saturday, September 9, 2012. Lightning strikes were reported to have started nearly 100 individual fires.

Priority response has been given to those areas that posed the greatest threat to life and communities. Several King County agencies are providing support at those and many other fires around Washington state.

The official Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service:

AFFECTED AREA...THE WASHINGTON CASCADES AND THE ADJACENT FOOTHILLS REGIONTIMING...LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING.THUNDERSTORMS...

ISOLATED DRY THUNDERSTORMS FORMING SOUTH OF OR OVER THE AREA...ESPECIALLY OVER THE CASCADES...

AND MOVING TO THE NORTH OR NORTHWEST AT 10 TO 15 MPH.THUNDERSTORMS WINDS...

DUE TO THE HIGH BASED NATURE OF THE STORMS THE WINDS SHOULD BE LIMITED...

HOWEVER GUSTY WINDS ARE ALWAYS A THREAT WHEN THUNDERSTORMS ARE IN THE VICINITY.IMPACTS...

WITH THE CURRENT FUEL CONDITIONS AS THEY ARE...ANY LIGHTNING WOULD BE EFFICIENT AT STARTING FIRES.PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW...OR WILL SHORTLY.

A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS...LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.

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