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AUGUST 18, 1997

Local News

County imposes burn ban

  by Andrew Walgamott
   King County and state Department of Natural Resources officials joined in a coordinated county-wide burn ban last week due to the extended dry period and higher temperatures the area has experienced.
   The ban prohibits all open outdoor burning until further notice, according to Gay Johnson, assistant county fire marshal. Snohomish County Fire District #7, which covers 55 square miles including Maltby, Clearview, Canyon Park, Mill Creek and Cathcart, is also under a burn ban.
   Curiously, the wetter and snowier than average winter the area experienced has led to greater fire danger. Johnson said that last winter's snow took down tree branches and brush, adding debris to the forest floor.
   "A lot of dead material out there is beginning to dry out," Johnson said. Although the county DNR says fire danger is moderate, Johnson says there is only a fine line between moderate and high fire danger.
   Wildland/urban interface fires are a potential threat, Johnson said, especially with more people in their yards and in the woods. "It's much better to be cautious and institute a burn ban," Johnson said.
   A recent rain had little effect on removing fire danger.
   "Areas of the county received rain [August 6] but that was sporadic," Johnson said, adding that a continuous rain would be needed to soak into the forests before the county considered lifting the ban.
   Mainly, the ban effects logging slash fires and land clearing operations. Campfires aren't allowed either, according to Johnson. She suggested campers use portable stoves to cook their meals.
   Barbecues are allowed.
   Fire Prevention Stewardship kits are available for homeowners and businesses from the state DNR. The kit contains ideas on which shrubs to plant around homes among others. Call 1-888-STEW KIT (783-9548) and leave your address.