OLYMPIA — With hot and dry weather this week, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources is asking the public to help prevent wildfires.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz says DNR firefighters are concerned that more wildfires may strike because of rising temperatures and higher winds. She says with 71 percent of the state experiencing the effects of drought with no rain forecasted people need to be extremely cautious when outdoors.

Temperatures on the west side of the state will be 20 to 30 degrees above normal and temperatures near 100 for many locations east of the Cascades.

The amount of rain many areas recently received created taller grasses, which will dry out at an accelerated pace over the week and serve as fuel for any fire that starts.

DNR has responded to nearly 500 fire calls this year. That combined with snowpack, which is lower than average and melting faster and earlier.

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