Friday, July 9, 2010

Roads and fire danger

The WSDOT Office of Emergency Management just sent out its first fire warning.

This email stated “Today, the National Weather Service has updated the Fire Weather Watch to a Warning (Red Flag Warning) today until 10 p.m. tonight for Klickitat County due to low humidity and gusty winds in the Columbia Gorge area.” According to the Weather Service, a Red Flag Warning means critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds and low relative humidity will create explosive fire growth potential.

We do our best to manage the grasses and other roadside vegetation as weather heats up. We also include safety features, such as water access, in roadway design, so emergency response agencies have access to fire-fighting materials.

But, weather conditions can change quickly. The human element also comes in when a motorist tosses lit debris, specifically lit cigarettes. Tossing litter, including cigarette butts, can result in a $1,025 fine. (See more from the Office of the State Fire Marshal)

If you see a fire, please report it to Emergency Services. You can also report litter violators to the Department of Ecology's litter hotline at 1-866-LITTER1 or file a report online.
Here are some other ways you can find out about fire danger in your area:
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fire Twitter feed.
  • DNR's Fire hotline is 1-800-562-6010
  • DNR fire danger by county map