Thurston County officials have issued a countywide burn ban, and fire officials are also strongly discouraging use of fireworks where they are still legal this Fourth of July.
The burn ban, issued just one day after the burn ban protecting all state Department of Natural Resources-protected lands, covers all of unincorporated Thurston County. The county’s municipalities have permanent burn bans in place.
The ban prohibits outdoor burning, including land clearing and the burning of yard debris, but still allows small recreational fires in fire pits as well as outdoor cooking with stoves and barbecues.
Weather forecasters predict record high temperatures later this week and possible dry thunderstorms.
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“This weather pattern of high temperatures combined with lightning but no rain is expected to last through the Fourth of July weekend. That means the burn ban is a critical part of protecting lives and property. Our local firefighters will have their hands full as it is,” county fire marshal Scott Clark said in a press release.
All small recreational fires must meet the following criteria:
• Fires must be contained in a metal or concrete fire pit. These fires cannot be used for debris disposal.
• Fires must be only 3 feet in diameter or smaller.
• Fires must be located in a spot that is completely clear of vegetation and at least 10 feet away from any vegetation and 25 feet away from any structure or building. Overhanging branches must be at least 20 feet above the fire.
• Fires must be attended at all times by an alert individual. All individuals attending fires must be able to extinguish the fire with a readily available shovel and a 5-gallon bucket of water, or with a readily available water hose that is connected and charged.
• Fires must be completely extinguished by pouring water or moist soil on the fire and stirring with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch.
• There is no burning at all when winds exceed 5 mph.
Ban violators can face a penalty of up to 90 days in jail or $1,000.
The ban does not apply to fireworks, but fire officials discourage personal use of fireworks due to the severity of this year’s conditions. The sale and use of fireworks is prohibited in the cities of Olympia and Lacey.
Fireworks sales are allowed in Thurston County only at inspected and approved stands from noon June 28 until 9 p.m. July 4. Daily sales are from 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Discharging fireworks is legal only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on July 3 and 4.