WILDFIRE NEAR SHELTON THREATENS HOMES AND POWER LINES
October 05, 2012
(SHELTON, WA) -- A 150-acre brush fire in Mason County was threatening for a time over 100 homes Thursday. The fire was burning in the Rainbow Lake area, just north of Shelton, Washington
Mason County wildfire near Shelton, WA.
The Washington Department of Natural resources said the blaze started around 2 p.m. near Mason Lake Road and McQuinn/Prairie Road and began moving very fast and was also burning very close to high-voltage power lines that serve the area.
Some residents in the area evacuated their homes, while others remained with their property.
The fire broke out after the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for high fire danger due to low humidity and a dry east winds.
‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ conditions spur Red Flag Warning for wildfire hazards in counties west of the Cascade Mountains
In light of the prolonged stretch of unusually dry weather in Western Washington since July and extreme risk of wildfire, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is extending the statewide burn ban through October 15, 2012.
The ban on outdoor burning applies to all DNR-protected public, private and tribal lands on both sides of the Cascade Mountains.
The National Weather Service expects the current danger of extreme fire weather in Western Washington to continue into the weekend.
Washington has had no measureable rain in August, and September was the third driest on record.
The warning was spurred by a weather pattern causing relative humidity to remain uncharacteristically low overnight. The exceptionally low overnight humidity causes grasses, brush and other ‘fuels’ to become bone dry.
“We have not seen wildfire conditions this bad in October in a lifetime,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “I’m concerned that the shorter days and colder weather will lull some people into thinking it’s safe to build campfires or bonfires. We need everyone to be cautious, alert and aware of the burn restrictions.”
The 12 million acres affected by the ban includes all forestlands in Washington, except for federal lands which have their own published restrictions.
Campgrounds may have additional burn restrictions in place. Campers should check with their campground host before starting a campfire.
As a result, many normal October outdoor activities, such as outdoor fires, could lead to devastating wildfires.