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18 counties in Washington under ‘extreme fire danger,’ including King, Pierce, Snohomish

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PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — It’s an unprecedented summer as 18-counties in Washington state are under extreme wildfire danger, including both King and Pierce counties.

The cooler temperatures on Monday weren’t enough to eliminate the threat.

The Sunrise Fire near Graham has already scorched 80 acres, and thousands of people have been told they should be ready to leave their homes.

This fire sparked just a couple of days ago and firefighters believe they have a pretty good handle on it. But they’re worried if the winds pick up, thousands of families could be right in the path of the fire.

“We didn’t have any fires last year so, I mean that concern was always there because the tree line is here, but it wasn’t his dry last year,” said Hallie Bushaw.

Bushaw’s family, and nearly 6700 of her closest neighbors, were told by firefighters to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. The surrounding neighborhood remains on level 1 evacuation notice.

“I was concerned the other day when I could see the smoke from my back window and our backyard is pretty dry right now and the tree line is right there,” she said.

But wildfires aren’t just a concern for rural areas this year.

“The danger is in their front yard,” said Lt. Richard Burke with the Bellevue Fire Department.

Bellevue firefighters trained to battle structure fires on Monday morning, but the super-dry brush within the city limits means wildfires pose a new threat for urban areas.

“We’ve got steep slopes, homes next to each other, lots of vegetation, wind off the Puget Sound - all of those things are contributing factors to huge loss,” said Burke.

Meanwhile the Sunrise Fire still pushes smoke into the sky as it burns in heavy timber.

Crews plowed multiple dozer lines around the fire as hand crews attempt to extinguish the fire.

Firefighters said the dry, hot weather is a reminder for everyone to take extra precautions outdoors.

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