A pedestrian makes their way down West First Street as rain falls upon downtown Port Angeles on Tuesday. A return to seasonal wet weather has prompted county officials to end the annual summer burn ban that had been extended into fall because of exceptionally dry conditions. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

A pedestrian makes their way down West First Street as rain falls upon downtown Port Angeles on Tuesday. A return to seasonal wet weather has prompted county officials to end the annual summer burn ban that had been extended into fall because of exceptionally dry conditions. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Burn bans lifted on Peninsula

Wet weather forcast for foreseeable future

Burn bans in both Clallam and Jefferson counties have been lifted in light of rainy weather.

The bans, which were lifted in both counties on Monday, allow recreational fires and residential burns and permitted burns to resume.

Those living in the Urban Growth Areas are restricted from outdoor debris burning while those living outside the UGA should consult with the local fire station before initiating any burn piles.

Clallam County’s burn ban went into effect on July 1 and was supposed to end on Oct. 1, but Clallam County Fire Marshal George Bailey extend the ban “until further notice” on Sept. 27.

Jefferson County’s burn ban went into effect Sept. 9.

The cool, wet weather is a welcome and long-awaited change from the unseasonably warm and dry conditions.

The National Weather Service has forecast wet weather for at least the next eight days, which decreases the fire risk but increases the risk of flooding and landslides in both counties.

“Where we often will see really significant threats for major landslides are burn scars,” said Willie Bence, director of Emergency Management for Jefferson County.

“Fortunately we haven’t had any major wildfires in the county so there is nothing like that, that is an immediate threat that we have noticed or paid attention to,” Bence said.

Jefferson County has a dedicated team comprised of staff from the Department of Emergency Management, Jefferson County Fire Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Jefferson Public Utility District and Jefferson County Public Works that is activated during winter storms to address winter weather impacts.

“Over the next few weeks, we will be doing some work to prepare for winter weather season,” Bence said. “We talk with the National Weather Service on a regular basis and they give us a kind of head’s up on incoming weather patterns, and they’re available to advise us 24/7.”

Clallam County is following a similar philosophy and keeping an eye on areas of concern for slide and flooding activity.

“Normal winter weather preparation for us is keeping an eye on the forecasts, making sure we are ready for what is to come, whether it’s snow and ice or wind and rain,” said Joe Donisi, assistant engineer for Clallam County Public Works.

The recent heavy rains have county personnel on guard.

“We just kind of react to those,” Donisi said. “We jump right on them. We’re not going to stand by and let a road stay closed with a slide on it.”

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached by email at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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