Fire danger response causes land closures and City of Forks Burn Ban

Smoke from wildfires elsewhere fueled a rise into the zone of “unhealthy for sensitive groups” for most of the North Olympic Peninsula on Saturday, but by mid-afternoon Sunday, air quality in Clallam and Jefferson counties had improved to a “moderate” rating.

Last Thursday the City’s Fire Inspector, Bill Paul, and Forks mayor Tim Fletcher issued an order declaring unusual fire danger and imposed a burn ban for the City of Forks.

The order based the actions on continued warm days without rain, drying winds, low humidity, and a “fire weather watch” issued by the National Weather Service. The combined conditions causing a potential increase for grass, leaves, and brush to catch fire.

Also prohibited in the order were floating lanterns open fire pits, and fire torches for yard work.

Recreational fires in self-contained fire pits, smokers, BBQ’s with briquettes and propane were made an exception.

On Sept. 9, Rayonier closed all tree farms in Oregon and Washington to drive-in and walk-in access. The tree farms were also closed to all logging, road building, and recreational access due to increased fire risk over the weekend.

Rayonier hoped to restore access on Monday, subject to weather conditions improving. The decision was made after evaluating information from The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) where they were expecting 15-20 mph winds from the east, paired with already-critical fire weather conditions, which immediately becomes a safety concern for customers, contractors, and employees. Also taking into account the Red Flag Warnings issued by each state.

The Red Flag Warning that was put into place on Thursday was lifted for the Peninsula by Saturday night although it remained in place for the Cascades and other area east of the region.