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Rain falls; Gregoire lifts burn ban in Western Washington

Due to Friday's rainfall and additional rain in the forecast, Gov. Chris Gregoire Friday afternoon modified a statewide burn ban to lift the ban for counties in Western Washington starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13th. For all counties east of the Cascades, an emergency proclamation declaring a State of Emergency and banning all outdoor burning will remain in effect through midnight Monday, Oct. 15.

“Today’s rain is a welcome change,” Gregoire said. “The new weather pattern now covering parts of our state eliminates the need to continue the burn ban in Western Washington. With that said, now is not the time to let down our guard. I urge all Washingtonians to continue to take extra caution to prevent additional human-caused fires. And given the on-going dry conditions east of the Cascades, it makes sense to continue to ban all outdoor burning in Eastern Washington. We must continue to take every step possible to ensure firefighters on the ground can continue to focus on the challenges at hand.”

Gregoire made her decision after consulting with Department of Natural Resources Director Peter Goldmark and Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste.

The burn ban still in place for Eastern Washington prohibits all outdoor burning, including but not limited to:

  • Campfires
  • Bonfires
  • 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.

Meanwhile, air quality is still a concern in Eastern Washington. According to the state’s Department of Ecology, Trout Lake was experiencing “hazardous” air quality during the morning hours today, mostly due to strong smoke impacts from nearby wildfires. Monitors showed the air in Cashmere, Entiat, Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Toppenish, Rosalia, Pullman, and Maple Falls was “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

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

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