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Tinder dry conditions has fire officials concerned

August 22nd, 2013 - 6:00am

(Port Angeles) -- The western states are currently plagued with numerous wildfires, and as of Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service raised the National Preparedness Level from 4 to 5. "5" is the highest threat level issued by the Forest Service.

On the Olympic Peninsula, our dry conditions now have Clallam County under an outdoor burn ban.

Fire District Two chief Sam Phillips says it is getting tinder dry out there.

"We want to emphasize there is a burn ban in place in all of Clallam County. That affects all outdoor burning, there is no outdoor burning allowed of any kind in authorized camp sites," said Phillips. "We want to encourage the public to report smokes early if they see those, and not be burning outdoors."

Earlier this week, crews were called out to a small wildfire burning between Port Angeles and Sequim.

Phillips says there are also a lot of wildfires burning in other parts of the western states. Under firefighting plans, crews and equipment are prioritized to blazes that most impact human life and property.

"Right now the National Interagency Fire Center has declared a preparedness level 5, which is the highest level of preparedness. That means nationally, due to the number of large fires that are active, our resources are actually very strained," said Phillips. "Here in the Pacific Northwest we are at a preparedness level four, but still many of our resources have been deployed to Oregon, Idaho and Utah."

Phillips says that despite the current "5" threat level rating by the U.S. Forest Service for the western United States, Clallam County Fire personnel are fully staffed and equipped to respond to any County fire threats at this point.

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