Hot temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds forecast for this weekend have land managers across the Northwest worried about wildfires. The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings in both Oregon and Washington.
A fire watch is in effect for much of eastern Washington. The southern Washington Cascades region and the Oregon Central and Northern Cascades are under red flag warnings. If conditions remain as they are, any fires that develop are likely to spread rapidly.
The largest fire in the region, the Rattlesnake fire, has been burning in central Oregon all week. The Bureau of Indian Affairs says the more than 9,000 acre fire is 80 percent contained. In Oregon, managers say the fire season is likely to worsen in coming weeks.
A burn ban in Washington has been extended on state land through the end of September.
The ban does not apply to federally-managed land like national parks and forests, but it is now illegal to use fireworks, tracer ammunition and even those popular sky lanterns on state lands in Washington state. Outdoors enthusiasts can still light campfires, as long as they remain in designated campground fire pits.