Firefighters warn of fire dangers as hot temperatures continue

Firefighters in western Washington are warning people that fires can start and spread very quickly as hot temperatures continue through the upcoming week.

“If you’ve seen very dry grass or straw, obviously it catches on fire very, very quickly,” said Kyle Ohashi, with the Kent Fire Department.

Ohashi says this stretch of very hot weather across western Washington means grass and brush are very dry creating prime conditions for fires to spark quickly. He says many of these types of fires are accidental, but usually from actions people cause, like carelessly tossing cigarette butts out of car windows or on the street.

“What we’d like people to do is if you’ve got a cigarette use your ash tray. It’s not meant to hold your used change,” said Ohashi.

A brush fire on the side of I-5 this afternoon is exactly the kind of incident Ohashi says can happen when people don’t realize the consequences of their actions.

"We typically have a breeze around, however light, and of course the vehicles moving, that creates a breeze and that fans a fire,” said Ohashi.

In the Central District neighborhood of Seattle, firefighters were following up on a fire that started late Friday night that left a duplex and a small apartment complex next door partially damaged.

"Within 20 minutes they had both fires under control and no injuries reported,” said Sue Stangl with the Seattle Fire Department.

She says a smoking material was tossed between the two structures and started a fire that spread very quickly, causing $275,000 in damage.

"Everyone was out of the building when firefighters came,” said Stangl.

SFD says this was a fortunate outcome that no one was hurt, but that it could have been prevented if people realized how big of an impact a small, careless action can have.