Peninsula: It’s August, and height of fire season

Paul Hampton of Forks is back from the fire lines in Eastern Washington, as are most of the other firefighters who were sent to battle several blazes last month.

But Hampton has a daily reminder of the fire threat as he reviews weather forecasts as prevention forester for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

“We do a weather briefing every morning with people from all over the state,” Hampton said.

The “rainbow” fire threat indicators — those pie-chart signs along roadsides seen throughout the Olympic Peninsula — are set according to what Hampton learns through the briefings.

“Fire departments have access to our weather information and to find out what the fire danger levels are,” he said. “We’re the ones who determine what goes on the rainbow signs. The fire departments set theirs based on ours.”

From Aberdeen to Brinnon, the Peninsula’s forests are as dry as they’ve been in five years. Hampton said the woods on the eastern Peninsula tend to be much drier than on the West End.

This full report appears in today’s edition. Click onto “Subscribe” to have the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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