An aerial view of the Jolly Mountain Fire near Cle Elum. (InciWeb)

Inslee declares state of emergency for wildfire worries; red flag warning issued

PORT ANGELES — As the growing Jolly Mountain Fire in Kittitas County threatens thousands of homes in Ronald and Roslyn, Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed a state of emergency in all counties due to wildfire concerns.

Although there are currently no wildland fires on the North Olympic Peninsula, the proclamation would allow officials access to federal resources if the need arises, said Chief Sam Phillips of Clallam County Fire District No. 2.

“Right now in Clallam, what we’re seeing coming ahead, we’re going to be in a dangerous level for fire,” he said.

Inslee’s proclamation notes that the availability of firefighting resources throughout the state and western United States is limited because of current and expected fire conditions.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning in Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest and lists Clallam and Jefferson Counties at high risk for fire.

The red flag warning is in effect from 7 a.m. today through 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Humidity is expected to drop below 25 percent with poor nighttime humidity recovery.

Olympic National Park added campfire restrictions Friday, limiting campfires to developed campgrounds and picnic areas only.

Phillips is urging people to limit their burning and, if they do have a fire, to be responsible.

“We really need the public’s help in reducing our fire risk by being careful,” he said.

In Clallam and Jefferson counties, burn bans are in effect. Burning is prohibited except for small recreational fires.

Jefferson County recently relaxed its elevated burn, said Bill Beezley, spokesperson for East Jefferson Fire-Rescue.

He said so far it’s been a pretty quiet summer in terms of fires, and the fire risk is about normal for this time of year.

With upcoming warm, dry weather, Phillips said it will be perfect conditions for a wildland fire.

His fire district deployed a type 6 brush engine with two firefighters to battle the Jolly Mountain Fire near Cle Elum after a request for aid Saturday from the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

Firefighters Tyler Reid and Jessica Adams volunteered for the assignment and will be assigned structure protection during the night shift, he said.

Clallam County Fire District No. 3 Chief Ben Andrews, regional coordinator for the Olympic Region, said District No. 2 is currently the only North Olympic Peninsula agency sending resources to the fire.

Phillips also said people should be aware smoke from the Jolly Mountain Fire is expected to make its way to the Olympic Peninsula as easterly winds develop throughout the next couple of days.

He is asking people not to call 9-1-1 to report smoke or haze unless they see a column of smoke or a fire.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.