Sarah Schurman, holding Ford Schurman, 3, and Jordan Nettles, 5, play in the waters of the Pilchuck River in Machias on Wednesday. Northwest Washington is under an excessive heat warning until Friday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Sarah Schurman, holding Ford Schurman, 3, and Jordan Nettles, 5, play in the waters of the Pilchuck River in Machias on Wednesday. Northwest Washington is under an excessive heat warning until Friday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Thermal Thursday: Hazardous wildfire smoke, high near 100

MARYSVILLE — The heat and wildfire smoke have rolled into Snohomish County.

After 45 days without rain, communities are under advisories about heat, fire danger and air quality.

Wildfires are burning near Darrington and in British Columbia. Winds have pushed the smoke south, dropping the air quality here to unhealthy levels. An air-quality alert is scheduled to stay in effect through Friday.

Children, older adults and people with respiratory illnesses are most likely to be affected. Officials recommend they limit outdoor activities.

Meanwhile, temperatures could climb close to 100 degrees Thursday.

“We may not reach the 100s, but it may be 98 or 99,” said Art Gaebel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

The Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the region through Friday evening.

Thursday could be the hottest day in Western Washington since 2009, Gaebel said.

Everett is forecast to reach a high of 90 degrees Thursday and 86 Friday. Darrington might hit 99 degrees Thursday and 98 Friday.

Temperatures in urban areas might feel hotter because of surrounding buildings, roads and parking lots. Those structures and concrete surfaces tend to trap heat.

A graduate student from the University of Washington Bothell mapped what are called “heat islands” throughout the county. They are located up and down the I-5 corridor.

Research showed that developed areas were warmer than rural areas. At night, the difference was about 10 to 15 degrees.

The study also showed that urban areas had the highest concentration of adults older than 65, an at-risk population during periods of excessive heat.

Marysville, one of the heat islands, has cooling stations available at the library and Fire Station 62. Libraries throughout the county welcome the public to stop by to cool down.

The temperatures have prompted a red flag warning for the Cascade Range and Olympic Mountains. Dry conditions have increased the risk of starting new fires and fueling current ones.

Marysville Fire Marshal Tom Maloney urged people to avoid any burning.

Firefighters have extinguished at least six brush fires in two weeks, said Christie Veley, a spokeswoman with the Marysville Fire District. On Monday, flames sparked on the side of I-5.

Veley recommended people avoid driving or parking on dry grass and throwing cigarettes out car windows.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192;

Burn ban

A burn ban went into effect Wednesday afternoon for all of Snohomish County. Air pollution prompted the ban by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. That means no charcoal barbecues, fire pits, fireplaces, campfires or bonfires.

In Island County, a ban on outdoor burning is scheduled to go into place at noon Thursday. Grills and camp stoves are exempt. The ban includes Camano Island.

The state Department of Natural Resources also plans a ban starting Thursday for many kinds of campfires. Only approved fire pits should be used on DNR lands.

Check with your local fire department or campground host for up-to-date restrictions in your area.

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