Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Local officials urge caution with fireworks

Refrain from using them because of fire danger

Wahkiakum County officials are asking people to refrain from using fireworks in un-incorporated parts of the county this Independence Day holiday weekend.

Record setting temperatures and resulting dry conditions have created a fire danger throughout the area.

Cathlamet resident Shari McKay reported seeing a reading of 113 degrees on Sunday at her Columbia Street residence. Other county residents have reported readings of 109 degrees on Sunday in the Cathlamet/Puget Island area.

Last week, Wahkiakum County Public Works Director Chuck Beyer announced that the county was imposing a ban on all outdoor burning effective 12:01 a.m. last Friday.

A press release from Beyer's office on Tuesday asks people to practice wildfire safety, including not lighting fireworks.

"Wahkiakum County is currently under an outdoor burn ban, and we again urge residents to refrain from the use of fireworks during this time of fire danger," the Tuesday press release says.

Recommended fire prevention tips include:

• Celebrate safely and please refrain from the use of fireworks.

• If fireworks are used, only use them in a wide, clear area with no flammable materials or vegetation nearby. Have a ready water source nearby and wet down the area first.

• Keep vehicles, ATVs and other machinery off and or away from dry grass – hot machinery and exhausts can ignite dry vegetation.

• Check to be sure campfires are allowed; only use an appropriate fire pit; douse campfires with water until fully extinguished and cold.

• Never dispose of used matches or cigarette butts on the ground.

• Keep fireworks, lighters, matches and flammables out of the reach of children.

Under the ban on outdoor burning, all land clearing, residential and silvicultural burning is banned until further notice.

Recreational campfires are only allowed if built in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds or, on private land, if built in a metal, stone or masonry fire pit and are smaller than three feet in diameter. They must have a cleared area at least 10 feet around them and have overhead clearance of at least 20 feet.

Campfires must be attended at all times by a responsible person at least 16 years old with tools to extinguish a fire, including water.

For more information, contact Wahkiakum County Building and Planning at 360-795-3067.


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