Gov. Jay Inslee’s declaration warns that because of fire danger across Washington — and blazes currently being fought — resources to tackle new wildfires will be limited.
Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency for all of Washington because of the high risk of wildfires as high temperatures and dry conditions continue across the region.
Firefighters already are battling a number of fires, including a nearly 15,000-acre blaze east of the Cascades at Jolly Mountain in Kittitas County.
Roads in that area have been closed and about 3,800 homes have received Level 2 and Level 3 evacuation orders. Level 3 is the most urgent notice.
Inslee’s declaration warns that because of the widespread fire danger, as well as existing blazes that firefighters are currently working to extinguish in this state and in the West generally, resources to tackle new wildfires will be limited.
Because of the strain on those resources, the governor also said that the Washington National Guard and state Guard may be activated to help local communities and state agencies.
The National Weather Service has designated 26 of Washington’s 39 counties as at very high or extreme risk of wildfire. That includes King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
It forecasts hot, dry and moderately breezy conditions continuing through Wednesday in Western Washington, with temperatures reaching the upper 80s and even the lower 90s from Seattle on south.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport reached 90 degrees Saturday for the seventh time this summer, the service said.
Satellite imagery shows a large plume of smoke drifting north from wildfires burning in Oregon. It’s expected to reach the Seattle area Sunday.
As winds shift westward, smoke from fires in the Cascades in this state are forecast to cover the Puget Sound region Sunday night through Tuesday.
The smoke could reduce air quality.
The region has been dry all summer, and high temperatures have primed it for big fires, said Washington Deputy State Fire Marshal John Wabel.
He described the conditions in Cle Elum, not far from the Jolly Mountain fire, as “desert-level humidity,” adding, “It doesn’t take much to start a fire.”