Complete burn bans called for North Olympic Peninsula

The state Department of Natural resources raised the fire danger Thursday afternoon.

North Olympic Peninsula fire authorities have instituted complete burn bans after the state raised fire risk danger from moderate to high in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

The complete burn bans means that no fires — including small recreational fires or grilling with charcoal — are allowed.

Annette Warren, Clallam County fire marshal, said late Thursday that a complete burn ban would be on the county website by this morning.

The state Department of Natural resources raised the fire danger Thursday afternoon, she said. Warren had not yet issued the announcement as of 4 p.m. Thursday but said she would by this morning.

To see fire risk levels for the state’s counties, go to http://tinyurl.com/PDN-firedangermap.

“Parts of the state here on the Peninsula are on red flag warning, meaning extremely high fire danger,” said Sam Phillips, Clallam County Fire District No. 2 fire chief.

“No one should be taking any chances at this point. It’s just not worth the risk.”

The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch for most of Western Washington including many parts of Clallam and Jefferson counties.

“We are entering into a dry spell that is unusually warm for the next couple of days,” said Bill Beezley, East Jefferson Fire-Rescue spokesman.

Record- or near-record-high temperatures late this week along with dry and breezy conditions will combine for potential rapid wildfire growth in Western Washington, according to Fire District No. 2.

The weather, combined with dry fuels ranging from grasses and shrubs up to trees, creates the potential for rapid fire growth.

Fire District No. 2 firefighters responded to a complaint of someone burning illegally Thursday, only one day after the state Department of Natural Resources banned all campfires on state land.

The report came from near Four Seasons Ranch, east of Port Angeles, he said.

“It’s pretty heavily wooded,” he said. “If we get a fire over there, it’s going to race into those hills pretty quick.”

This summer, Fire District No. 2 has responded to 34 brush fires, he said.

To date, East Jefferson Fire-Rescue hasn’t battled any significant brush fires, and Beezley hopes the good luck will continue.

“Knock on wood,” he said. “We want to keep it that way.”

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

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