Red flag raised: ‘abundant’ lightning is on the way through Tuesday

The National Weather Service has raised the red flag for Tukwila and the rest of Western Washington as "abundant" lightning is forecast through Tuesday evening.

The National Weather Service has raised the red flag for Tukwila and the rest of Western Washington as “abundant” lightning is forecast through Tuesday evening.

The high today (Monday) was forecast to be about 90 but a cooling trend will cap the highs in the low 80s and upper 70s through the week.

The weather service reports that an upper, level low-pressure system will bring moisture into Western Washington starting Monday evening.

The thunderstorms will start at the crest  of the Cascades, then backfill into Western Washington through Tuesday evening.

Because of those conditions – heat, low humidity, wind and lightning, a Red Flag warning was issued for Western Washington. The threat of lightning-caused fires in the Cascades and in Eastern Washington also increases.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is expanding the current statewide burn ban to cover all outdoor burning on all DNR-protected lands, with no exceptions, the agency announced Monday in a news release.

The King County Fire Marshal’s Office in July banned all outdoor fires in unincorporated areas because of the heat.

“All indicators are that we’ll continue to have high heat, low humidity, and storm systems with winds and lightning. That means huge potential for wildfires,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We need to do everything we can to minimize danger to people, homes and habitat.”

Hot and dry conditions since early summer have caused high fire hazard conditions throughout the state, according to the release.

These conditions have caused fires to spread rapidly and challenged firefighting efforts. More than $91 million has been spent so far battling wildfires in 2014, and more than 350,000 acres have burned across the state. There are many weeks to go in this year’s fire season, which usually runs into October.

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