Coastal drought worsens

Parts of Washington’s maritime counties slipped farther into drought conditions last week. , with most of Pacific County now classified as experiencing “severe” drought. No part of the state was impacted by severe drought a year ago. A minor amount of precipitation late last week made no appreciable difference in terms of stream flows and soil conditions. Sunny, warm conditions are forecast at least through the start of next week.

OLYMPIA — With hot, dry weather this week, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources wants the public to help prevent wildfires.

“Our firefighters are concerned that we may see more wildfires this week due to rising temperatures and higher wind speeds,” Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said June 10. “With 71 percent of our state experiencing drought effects, and no rain forecast, we all need to be extremely cautious when outdoors.”

This Wednesday, temperatures in some places on the west side of the state will be 20 to 30 degrees above normal and temperatures near 100 across much of the east of the Cascades. Portland is predicted to hit 96. Long Beach Peninsula temps are expected to top out near 80. Dry and windy conditions produce conditions conducive to wildfires.

Increasing winds along with the hot, dry weather, can wreak havoc on any tiny spark. The amount of rain many areas received late last week contributed to growing grass, which will dry out at over the week that will serve as fuel for any fire that starts.

As of Monday, DNR has responded to 478 fire calls.

Snowpack is lower than average and is melting faster and earlier.

Safety tips for preventing wildfires

(

http://www.dnr.wa.gov/WildfirePrevention

)

Here are some steps to ensure fire-safety:

• Only build campfires when and where authorized, and put them out completely.

• Make sure all off-road vehicles have a properly functioning catalytic converter or approved spark arrester.

• Dispose of lit smoking materials appropriately.

• Remember that discharging fireworks or use of incendiary ammunition or exploding targets is illegal on public lands.

Stay connected during wildfire season

DNR’s Fire Twitter: http://twitter.com/waDNR_fire

Incident Information System (InciWeb): http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/

Anyone who spots a wildfire should call 911 as soon as possible to report it.

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