Despite rain, fire danger may still exist in Kitsap

It was raining and, in some areas, pouring Aug. 13. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is no fire danger.

KINGSTON — It was raining and, in some areas, pouring Aug. 13. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is no fire danger.

It will take more than a day’s worth of rain to reduce the fire danger, said North Kitsap Fire & Rescue spokeswoman Michele Laboda.

There will need to be “significant sustained rain,” Laboda said. “It took far longer than that to create a fire-danger situation.”

A red flag — fire danger — warning was issued for Kitsap County Aug. 11-12 by the National Weather Service after thunderstorms were predicted.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources banned all outdoor burning on all Natural Resources protected land through Sept. 30. Washington State Parks announced Aug. 12 that campfires in all state parks were prohibited until further notice, to comply with Natural Resources. Natural Resources rated all counties west of the Cascade Mountains as “moderate” risk of fire danger.

As of Aug. 13, all burning permits were suspended and a Stage 1 burn ban was in effect. Permits that are not expired when fire danger is reduced will be good again, Laboda said.

Extra caution in areas west of the Cascades is important because of the stretched resources. Firefighters, including three from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue, are helping fight the wildfires on the east side of the Cascades. Two of NKF&R’s personnel are on an attack crew, fighting newly sparked fires as quickly as possible. One is helping staff a medic unit treating any injuries.

“We don’t have a lot of extra resources, because we’re trying to help,” Laboda said.

Though there were showers for most of Aug. 13, and a 30 percent chance for Aug. 14, fire danger remains, according to Laboda.

The National Weather Service expects temperatures to remain in the mid- to high-70s Aug. 15-19.

Some fires, however, are allowed; for example, recreational fires on private property. Those fires, Laboda said, should be in a designated fire pit or ring, with only dry seasoned wood or charcoal.

“If it’s your property, technically you can still burn, but it’s extremely dangerous,” Laboda said.

Kitsap has Stage 1 burn bans almost every summer, Laboda said. Red flag warnings are less common, but becoming more frequent, she said.

Last summer, the north end had at least one or two red flag days; this summer there were two so far, Laboda said.

Despite the fire danger, neither NKF&R or the Poulsbo Fire Department responded to any major event. Poulsbo Fire responded to electrical wires down Aug. 10, spokeswoman Jody Matson said.

North Kitsap Fire responded to a fallen tree into electrical wires, that looked to threaten a home, Laboda said. The fire, however, was contained and didn’t spread.