The Olympia area is gearing up for what is expected to be the warmest weekend in August, with highs reaching 90 degrees.
The conditions prompted Thurston County officials to issue a burn ban starting at 3 p.m. Friday and lasting through the end of September — despite rain that fell overnight and into Friday in Olympia.
The ban applies to all outdoor burning on lands regulated by the county, along with residential yard waste and land clearing burns. Recreational fires in concrete, stone or metal pits are still allowed.
Unfortunately for those looking to cool down this weekend, one of Olympia’s most popular attractions is out of commission until early next week. The city of Olympia says Heritage Park Fountain’s compressor broke and the part required to fix it won’t arrive until Monday.
The closure means OlyDance’s Fountain Dance Party on Saturday afternoon won’t have quite the splash the group had planned.
“It’s definitely a bummer, it’s sort of a highlight, it’s something that we like to do every year, and we felt like we had good momentum for it happening,” said OlyDance founder David Accurso.
However, the city will provide sprinklers so the group can move forward with a modified version of the event from 1-4 p.m. OlyDance plans to hold another fountain party after the fountain is up and running Aug. 10.
The city also is directing would-be fountain-goers seeking heat relief to the sprayground at Woodruff Park that opened last month.
Looking ahead, AccuWeather’s forecast for the Northwest in August predicts average highs in the the mid 70s to low 80s.
In Western Washington, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates there is a 60 percent chance temperatures will be above normal for August to October. So even though it took a while for summer to arrive, it looks like it will linger into the fall.
This combination of factors also increases the probability of wildfires in Eastern Washington from August into September. The National Interagency Fire Center says the potential for significant wildfires is “above normal” for Washington.