June 30, 2015 Contact Us
Clallam County Fire District 2, Covering Port Angeles and Olympic National Park
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Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue Invokes Fire Restrictions

Due to the current drought conditions Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue has implemented the following restrictions on outdoor burning. Effective immediately, the fire district will cease to issue any new back yard or commercial permits for burning. In addition, fire officials request that existing permit holders curtail backyard burning until the annual burn ban is lifted in the fall, after rains have reduced the fire hazard. This is a voluntary restriction until the countywide burn ban takes effect on July 1. "We have twelve days until the annual burn ban takes effect. We are asking for the support of the community starting now and continuing throughout fire season, to help us help you" said Fire Chief Sam Phillips.

Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue has already responded to three brush fires in less than one month, each of these fires were human caused. One was a controlled burn that escaped the property owner and caused tremendous concern when it threatened structures. "We surveyed our Board of Fire Commissioners and it was unanimous that we should be proactive rather than reactive. This is the right course of action to take given our current environmental circumstances", Phillips added.

In a normal year there is enough rain to keep fire season from starting until after the 4th of July. Currently our region is two months ahead of that normal curve which has caused our fuels to dry out much sooner, according to the fire district. In making this decision the fire district was guided by information made available from the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland, Oregon. NWCC provides long range fire weather forecasts to the fire services throughout the Pacific Northwest. Their predictive services section http://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/predict/weather.aspx expects the warmer, drier weather to continue for the next one to two months which will further exacerbate the threat for wildfires to spread quickly.

Snow pack is at historically low levels which will effect water flow level in local rivers as well as ground water tables. On the Olympic Peninsula where there would normally be 80 inches of snow, flowers such as glacier lilies have been in bloom for two weeks.

On May 15, 2015, Governor Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency. The declaration came after the governor's Emergency Water Executive Committee determined that 48 of 62 watersheds in Washington have water supplies of 75 percent of normal or below and water users are experiencing hardships from water shortages or are expected to experience hardships. Washington has been in a snowpack drought since the governor's first drought declaration on March 13 for the Yakima and Walla Walla basins and the Dungeness basin on the Olympic Peninsula.

Snowpack is like a frozen reservoir for river basins, in a typical year accumulating over the winter and slowly melting through the spring and summer providing a water supply for rivers and streams.  This year run-off from snowmelt for the period April through September is projected to be the lowest on record in the past 64 years.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/ Clallam County is in a moderate drought status (see figure 1 attached) and when combined with the possibility of an El Nino weather event, the possibility of a long sustained fire season is probable. According to the NWCCs predictive services,  "There is an approximately 90% chance that El Nino will continue through Northern Hemisphere summer 2015, and a greater than 80% chance it will last through 2015."   

Urban Growth Areas of Clallam County

Burning is prohibited in the urban growth areas of Clallam County. This is regulated by the State of Washington, not local agencies. We often receive questions on where burning is prohibited. The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) has developed a map that shows where burning is prohibited.

A link to the ORCAA website is here.



Commercial and Large-Pile Burn Permits

Permits in this category are issued to commercial users that are clearing large areas of land and burning, or to citizens that have yard waste larger than a single 4 foot X 4 foot X 3 pile foot allowed under the no-fee residential permit.

These permits are issued on a case-by-case basis and require a site visit. The cost is $100.00 payable to Clallam County Fire District No. 2. Please call 360-417-4790 or email admin@clallamfire2.org to arrange a site visit to issue this type of permit.

Click here to read the restrictions on these permits.

Clallam County Burn Restriction Information
DNR Fire Danger by County
Olympic Region Clean Air Agency Burn Information
Firewise Newsletter
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