Peninsula: Low snowpack may mean hot fire season

  • Thursday, June 14, 2001 12:01am
  • News

By Tristan Baurick

Good news is not coming down from the mountain tops.

Low snowpack and run-off levels could make for a dry summer with an increased potential for fires.

“As the season heats up, it’ll raise our fire danger here,” said Ty Crowe, an engineer with Olympic National Park’s fire management office.

Most of the Olympic Mountains’ snowpack melted prior to June 1, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys.

May snowpack levels were only 52 percent of normal. Snow levels are now above computer sensors installed on the mountains.

With low snow levels, the forecast average runoff in both the Dungeness and Elwa river basins is expected to reach only 60 percent of normal June levels.

The department predicts the low levels will continue through the summer.

Runoff for Big Quilcene River in eastern Jefferson County and the Wynoochee River on the south side of Olympic National Park are also expected to be below average.

Precipitation levels on the North Olympic Peninsula are also unusually low — only measuring 65 percent of the average during a June 1 study by Agriculture officials.

Details are in today’s Peninsula Daily News, on sale in Clallam and Jefferson counties. Or click onto “Subscribe” to order your copy via U.S. mail.

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