Governor issues emergency burn ban in every county

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire issued an emergency proclamation Sunday enacting a sweeping outdoor burn ban for every county in Washington state through the middle of the month.

"Washington state is experiencing a weather pattern like one we've rarely seen before," Gregoire said. "The long, warm and dry spell has elevated fire danger across our state. Given that we don't expect a significant amount of rainfall for quite some time, it makes sense to extend this proclamation and expand the burn ban."

No significant rainfall has fallen in the Seattle area since July 23. The dry streak sets new records daily the longer it continues, and no rain is in the forecast until Friday at the soonest.

The state Department of Natural Resources said Friday that critical weather conditions like these are "not seen in a lifetime."

"Extraordinary dry conditions across our state require that all Washingtonians exercise the utmost caution and allow fire crews to focus on the challenges at hand," Gregoire said.

The burn ban prohibits all outdoor burning, including but not limited to campfires, bonfires, fireworks, residential yard debris clean-up, trash disposal, land clearing, weed abatement and agricultural burning.

Liquid fueled or gas-fueled stoves are permitted provided that use is conducted over a non-flammable surface and is at least five feet from flammable vegetation. Charcoal grills are permitted at private residences under the same conditions.

The burn ban remains in effect through Oct. 15.

The governor's proclamation directs state agencies and departments to continue to use state resources and to do everything reasonably possible to assist local jurisdictions respond to and recover from fires.