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KUOW's environment beat brings you stories on the ongoing cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, alternative energy, the health of the Puget Sound, coal transportation and more. We're also partnered with several stations across the Northwest to bring you environmental news via EarthFix.

Washington Governor Extends Burn Ban, Declares State of Emergency

Flickr photo/Washington Department of Natural Resources

Dryer than normal conditions prompted Washington Governor Chris Gregoire to declare a state of emergency and extend a ban on outdoor fires. Outdoor burning is banned in all counties until October 15. The state is experiencing a rare stretch of dry weather.

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Brian Flint says the state has had no significant rainfall since late July. Forecasters say Friday is the earliest the area could see some rain. Flint says fire crews have been fighting several blazes in central and Eastern Washington. "Some of them we've put out we’ve had a couple that are a little bit more troubling to deal with. One near Sedro Woolly and we’ve a large fire over on the Colville Reservation that is also a work in progress."

An outdoor burn ban was already in effect east of the Cascade Crest. The ban prohibits all outdoor burning. Camp stoves are allowed, as are home charcoal grills. The emergency proclamation  from the governor also puts Washington's National and State Guard units on alert.

The Department of Ecology is monitoring air quality across Washington state where smoke-filled air remains.


Department of Natural Resources' Fire Danger Map