The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning which is in effect from 6 PM this evening (Saturday) to 11 PM Sunday. The fire weather watch is no longer in effect. Forecasters are saying the warmest weather of the year is expected today before some moderation begins on Sunday. Dry fuel conditions have exceeded critical levels from the cascades to the coast. The heat will help create an unstable air mass above about 2000 feet. In addition, a threat of dry thunderstorms with potentially abundant lightning will begin by late this afternoon and grow into Sunday morning raising the potential of fire starts and rapid fire growth throughout Western Washington and east toward Lake Chelan.
The threat of dry lightning begins this evening. The greatest threat of abundant lightning is later Saturday night into Sunday. Some thunderstorms later Sunday into Sunday night may have accompanying rainfall but not expected to be a wetting rainfall.
Atmospheric and dry fuel conditions are creating an environment that will likely cause any fire starts to spread rapidly. Outdoor burning and use of fireworks is not recommended. In addition, unseasonably warm dry weather is anticipated to extend well into next week especially inland from the immediate coast. The extended warm dry weather may help any fire starts this weekend continue to be quite active.
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 can contribute to extreme fire behavior.