Weather Service: Extreme fire danger above 2,000 feet in Cascades

Although rainy conditions last week brought some relief from the heat, a red flag warning has been issued for the Olympic Mountains and the western Cascades.

The National Weather Service declared areas above 2,000 feet in elevation are facing increased risk of wildfires due to prolonged dryness that is expected to stick around. The elevation of the Artist Point parking lot is about 5,100 feet.

Temperatures across the region have been about 15 degrees above normal for this time of year, and highs for Bellingham are expected to stay in the high 70s through the weekend. With sparse humidity and little relief during the evening hours, small sparks could quickly grow to uncontrollable blazes.

Meteorologist Ni Cushmeer warned people to be especially careful while hiking or climbing in the mountains, but that caution should be practiced regardless of location.

“I guess you could say the fire danger is high everywhere,” she said.

The wildfire danger in Whatcom County, according to the state Department of Natural Resources, dropped to high, from the very high/extreme level it had been since before Independence Day.

However, the burn ban that has been in place for Whatcom County since June 29 remains in effect.

The red flag warning is expected to be in effect until at least 10 p.m. Friday, July 31.

Libby Keller can be reached at 360-715-2242 or libby.keller@bellinghamherald.com.