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Fire Marshals issue burn bans for King, Pierce County; cooling centers to open over weekend

Temperatures forecast to blaze around or higher than 105 degrees Sunday, Monday

With sweltering heat in store this weekend, King and Pierce Counties have instituted burn bans and are asking Plateau residents to plan ahead for what could be a historic heat wave across the Pacific Northwest.

As of Thursday, the National Weather Service predicted a high of 105 degrees Sunday in Enumclaw. That will only dip down to 104 degrees Monday, according to the weather service. (Other sources have forecasts even hotter – weather.com predicts highs of 107 and 108 on Sunday and Monday.)

Overnight temperatures will provide a little relief, but aren’t predicted to fall below 70 degrees either Saturday or Sunday night. Thankfully, Tuesday is forecast to bring a comparatively balmy high of 91 degrees, with an 88-degree high Wednesday.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat watch from Friday afternoon through Monday evening, citing the possibility of all-time record-breaking heat in parts of Washington and Oregon.

Sun survival

To stay frosty this weekend, the Enumclaw Fire Department recommends that you:

1. Drink plenty of water, and limit alcohol and caffeine consumption, which will dehydrate you.

2. Wear sunscreen and limit your time in the sun.

3. Check on elderly family, friends and neighbors.

4. Ensure animals have fresh water and shelter from the sun.

5. Use a fan or air conditioning device if you can. You can also keep blinds and windows closed.

6. Ensure young children and pets are not left unattended in vehicles, where hot weather can lead to heatstroke or death.

Watch for signs of dehydration, too. Beyond the obvious, like thirst and a dry mouth or skin, a headache, rapid heartbeat and less frequent urination are symptoms that you’re not getting enough water.

Cooling centers

If you or someone you know won’t be able to stay cool at home over the weekend, cities on the Plateau will be offering places to escape the sun.

In Enumclaw, the Enumclaw Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

On Sunday and Monday, the Enumclaw Senior Center will open from noon to 6 p.m. both days. Mt. Rainier Chrstian Center, located at Highway 164 and 244th Avenue, will also open both days – 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.

Then on Tuesday, the library will once again serve as a cooling spot from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., according to city manager Chris Searcy.

In Buckley, the fire station will open from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Youth Activity Center will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, city manager Paul Weed said.

The Black Diamond Community Gym, located at 25511 Lawson Street, will open Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., said City Clerk Brenda Martinez.

If you’re aware of a cooling center that we missed, please contact alex.bruell@courierherald.com.

Burning banned

All parts of unincorporated King and Pierce County are now under a fire safety burn ban. King County’s started June 24, while the Pierce County ban goes into effect 8 a.m. June 25.

“Extreme heat and especially dry conditions have increased the risk of wildfire dramatically,” King County Fire Marshal Chris Ricketts announced Wednesday in a prepared statement. “People in both rural and urban unincorporated areas need to use caution.”

The burn bans apply to all outdoor burning, except for barbecues and small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or on private property with the owner’s permission. Even those fires pose a risk, so they are subject to certain limitations. According to the King County Fire Marshal, they must:

1. Be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, such as those typically found in designated campgrounds, and not be used as debris disposal.

2. Be no larger than three feet in diameter.

3. Be located in a clear spot, free from any vegetation for at least ten feet in a horizontal direction and at least 25 feet away from any structure, and allow 20 feet of vertical clearance from overhanging branches.

4. Be attended at all times by an alert individual with equipment capable of extinguishing the fire.

Both bans are in effect “until further notice,” according to the announcements. Check with your local fire agency if you’re not sure whether or not you can burn.


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