Firefighters Concerned about Brush Fires with Hot and Dry Conditions
Yakima, WA - Temperatures are expected to top out at 98 degrees in the Yakima Valley and into triple digits in the Tri-Cities. The extremely dry conditions have firefighters on high alert for brush fires.
Up on the Yakima Ridge, the cheat grass is so dry it will fall apart in your hand when you run it through your fingers.
Firefighters say the warm weather this week is causing it to dry out much sooner than normal.
"We're probably three weeks ahead of schedule," says Warren Gay, Fire Chief of the East Valley Fire Department.
His fire department has responded to four wild land fires in the last five days. The biggest problem they are having is with inexperienced people doing controlled burns without taking proper safety measures.
"Either it's too windy, too dry... They are too close to fuel and when we get there its two, three, four acres if we are lucky," says Chief Gay.
He's concerned with field fuels drying out this weekend, the next brush fire could be much worse.
East Valley is going through a population boom like many other areas in Central Washington. New homes are being built next to cheat grass and sagebrush. Chief Gay wants fire departments to issue burn permits to better regulate new homeowners who don't have experience with doing controlled burns properly.
There's one thing that you can do to help out local fire departments when the conditions get really dry like this. Call them if you plan on doing a controlled burn. This way they don't have to waste resources checking it out.