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Gregoire announces state of emergency banning all outdoor burning
Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced that an emergency proclamation declaring a State of Emergency and banning all outdoor burning has been extended through midnight Monday, Oct. 15th, and now includes all counties in Washington state.
“Washington state is experiencing a weather pattern like one we’ve rarely seen before,” Gregoire said. “The long, warm and dry spell has elevated fire danger across our state. Given that we don’t expect a significant amount of rainfall for quite some time, it makes sense to extend this proclamation and expand the burn ban. Extraordinary dry conditions across our state require that all Washingtonians exercise the utmost caution and allow fire crews to focus on the challenges at hand.”
“Most often it’s wind, or snow or heavy rain that causes us problems,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “In this case some very nice weather also has an extreme downside. While we’d all like to be camping or picnicking in the woods, open fires just can’t be a part of the mix.”
The burn ban prohibits all outdoor burning, including but not limited to:
• Residential yard debris clean-up, trash disposal, land clearing, weed abatement and agricultural burning activity
• Ignition of fireworks
Liquid fueled or gas-fueled stoves are permitted provided that use is conducted over a non-flammable surface and is at least five feet from flammable vegetation. Charcoal grills are permitted at private residences under the same conditions.
The proclamation issued by the governor:
• Directs state agencies and departments to continue to utilize state resources and to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected political subdivisions in an effort to respond to and recover from the fires;
• Notes the order into active state service of the organized militia of Washington state, to include the National Guard and the State Guard remains in effect; and
• Instructs the Washington State Emergency Operations Center to continue to coordinate all event-related assistance to the affected areas.
The state’s Department of Ecology is monitoring air quality across Washington state where smoke-filled air remains.
To check for air quality monitoring information, visit: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/air_monitoring_data/WAQA_Intro_Page.html
Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Health is providing answers to frequently asked questions about wildfire smoke here: http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/AirQuality/OutdoorAir/SmokeFromFires.aspx