Despite continuous warnings from city and state officials to avoid outdoor burning during our state’s recent hot and dry conditions, Seattle firefighters have responded to 65 brush and bark-related blazes in the past two weeks, the city said Tuesday.
The Seattle Fire Department is again asking residents to take several steps to prevent the continued blazes. At least 15 fires were started by fireworks near the end of June and beginning of July. The department’s advice includes removing dead plants or bushes as soon as possible, removing flammable wood piles or propane tanks, removing long grass or weeds from around homes and keeping lawns hydrated or cut short.
Fire officials are also urging people not to light fireworks, which are illegal in Seattle, get rid of smoking materials properly and be careful while driving through dry grass, because hot exhaust pipes can lead to fires.
The King County fire marshal issued a fire-safety burn ban near the end of June on all outdoor burning, except for barbecues and small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or private property.
Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee also issued a burn ban for the entire state, prohibiting most outdoor and agricultural burning through the end of September.
Meanwhile, 300 fires continue burning in British Columbia, 24 in California, 14 in Idaho, 13 in Oregon, and four in Washington.
“We’re seeing a large increase in fires on a historical basis compared to where we would be at this time last year,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Joh Heggie told The Washingon Post. “This is a large indicator that we’re looking at another busy fire season — all the same scenarios that set up last year for such a devastating year have the same potential for this year.”
Seattle Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge contributed to this story.