King County’s fire marshal on Wednesday issued a Stage 1 burn ban for unincorporated areas of the county, an order prompted by the promise of a scorching, potentially 100-degree weekend.
The ban applies to all outdoor burning, except for barbecues and small, recreational fires in established fire pits at either approved campgrounds or private property with the owner’s permission, according to a King County statement. The ban — which is usually issued during dry weather conditions when there’s low moisture in trees and vegetation — will begin Thursday and remain in effect until further notice.
“Extreme heat and especially dry conditions have increased the risk of wildfire dramatically,” King County Fire Marshal Chris Ricketts said in the Wednesday statement. “People in both rural and urban unincorporated areas need to use caution.”
Local meteorologists are predicting temperatures in the mid-90s throughout the weekend, potentially climbing to 100 degrees on Sunday, the statement said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat watch for the Seattle area, predicting dangerously hot daytime conditions from Friday afternoon through Monday afternoon.
In Seattle, temperatures are running so high that city officials are directing residents to public sites where they can cool off, including library branches, wading pools, spray parks and swimming beaches.
While smaller, recreational fires are permitted under the burn ban, fire officials said their use should be “limited and respected accordingly” since they still pose a risk. Fires must also be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, no larger than 3 feet in diameter and located in a clear spot at least 10 feet away from any vegetation, 25 feet away from any structure and allow for 20 feet of space from overhanging branches, the statement said.
With Fourth of July fireworks sales beginning throughout the county, Ricketts also reminded the community to stay alert and be aware of their surroundings when using fireworks.
For more information about local burn bans and fireworks use, click here.