Governor Inslee announces state of emergency, burn ban due to wildfires

Ted S. Warren
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signs a bill into law, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee issued a proclamation on Tuesday evening that placed Washington in a state of emergency due to a high risk of wildfires across the region.

According to an emergency release from the Governor’s Office, Inslee is issuing a ban on most outdoor and agricultural burning through September 30, 2021.

“Washington is facing a historic drought and we have already experienced record-breaking heat. We must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent wildfires, and the loss of life and destruction of land and property that comes with them,” Inslee said. “We don’t want a repeat of recent years with dangerous wildfires across the state that have destroyed towns, killed livestock and resulted in weeks of unhealthy air quality. I urge everyone to do their part to help protect our beautiful state and all our communities.”

There are some exceptions to the burn ban; including the use of gas-fueled stoves in specific circumstances and contained recreational campfires on people’s private property. Charcoal grills are allowed so long as they are conducted safely and away from flammable vegetation.

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Additionally, Governor Inslee is activating the Washington National Guard to aid local and regional first responders in wildfire suppression efforts. Included in this activation is clearance for Washington State Military Department helicopters to provide aerial assistance in containing and eliminating wildfires across the state.

Governor Inslee noted the region’s exceptionally high temperatures and recent record-setting heat wave from June 25 through 28 as a reason for this proclamation. He also noted that these wildfires pose a significant threat to the life and property of Washington residents.

The National Weather Service predicts an increased threat of lightning, windy conditions, high temperatures approaching state records, and high-risk fire fuel conditions which make Washington state particularly vulnerable to wildfires this summer.

Washington state’s Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz, is urging the state’s residents to be proactive in preventing fires during this time of need.

“We have seen a record-breaking number of fires for this early in the summer,” Franz said. “Extreme drought conditions leave communities across our state at risk as fire danger continues to climb. I’m asking everyone to do their part to and take precautions to prevent wildfires. Our firefighters on the frontlines depend on us to help keep them safe.”

To read the Governor’s full proclamation, click here.


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