King County Fire Marshal Chris Ricketts has issued a Stage 2 burn ban for King County, which prohibits all outdoor recreational fires. Outdoor cooking and heating appliances are limited to approved manufactured gas and charcoal units only.
The Stage 2 burn ban goes into effect immediately for King County, which was already in a Stage 1 burn ban. Today’s announcement comes after the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag fire danger warning for Northwest Washington that will last through Wednesday of this week.
Abnormally high temperatures and gusty winds, along with low humidity, have prompted both warnings. Large fires in Eastern Washington and Oregon have also contributed to reduced air quality in the Puget Sound region.
During a Stage 2 burn ban, any outdoor fire such as a backyard fire pit or campfire using chopped firewood or charcoal is prohibited. Under the ban, any person with a recreational fire who fails to take immediate action to extinguish or otherwise discontinue such burning when ordered or notified to do so can be charged with, up to and including, a misdemeanor.
Manufactured portable outdoor devices are allowed, including barbeques and patio warmers that are used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Approved fuel devices - including charcoal, natural gas or propane gas – are also allowed.
Ricketts says if residents must smoke, they should exercise extreme caution with their ashes or when they’re extinguishing cigarettes. The county asks residents to be diligent and respectful of their neighbors, and to remember this is a demanding time for first responders.
“The conditions – high temperatures, wind, low humidity – mean everyone should be on high alert about fire safety,” Ricketts said. “Things can become dangerous – and tragic – extremely fast with these conditions. Everyone should be careful.”