The King County Fire Chief Association would like to remind community members that the current dry conditions greatly increase the danger of fires in the area.
Throughout the western United States, fires have scorched thousands of acres, destroyed property, and taken lives. While those types of fires are rarely seen in King County, the dangers that brush and grass fires pose is very real.
Here some tips to help keep safe:
- Be aware of any burn bans. In King and Snohomish counties, the fire marshal can impose a burn ban based on dry ground conditions. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency can also post a burn ban due to unhealthy air conditions. Learn more at www.kingcounty.gov, www.snohomishcountywa.gov, and www.pscleanair.org.
- Reduce the fire risk on property. Remove dead leaves and branches, clean out the gutters, and prune shrubs so that they are at least two to three feet from the home. Keeping plants and grass green will also reduce the spread of fire.
- Charcoal ashes—dispose of the ashes from BBQs properly. Many parks have metal containers specifically for this purpose if using a public facility. If BBQing at home, dispose of ashes in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Never put ashes in a paper or plastic bag, and never leave the ashes near the home or other wood objects such as a fence or deck.
- Don’t be part of the problem. Never throw cigarette butts out of a vehicle window. The brush fires they cause are unsightly, are a visual distraction, and can endanger buildings near roadways. Violators can face fines of up to $1025.00. Also, keep in mind that trailer safety chains and under inflated tires can also cause sparking, which can lead to roadside fires.
- If camping or hiking in other parts of the state, check with those counties about possible burn bans and the fire danger level.
Additionally, be aware of the poor air quality in the area due to the Canadian brush/forest fires, and the potential health danger the smoke poses.
According to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, everyone should minimize strenuous activity due to current air quality issues. Even moderate levels of activity should be limited if sensitive to smoke or have respiratory issues. To check current air quality, residents should check www.pscleanair.org for the most current updates.