Wildfires expected to worsen due to drought; residents urged to keep safe and prepare


Wildfires are expected to worsen and appear more frequently as the dry and warm conditions are anticipated this spring and summer.

The Department of Ecology declared a drought emergency for most regions of Washington State, including Thurston County, effective April 16.

Drought is one of the factors that cause wildfires, due to the hot weather making dry vegetation more combustible.

Scarcity of water sources further complicates firefighting efforts, necessitating costly and time-consuming measures such as transporting water from distant locations.

Residents in high-risk wildfire areas are urged to take precautions to safeguard their health and property.

Preparation is important, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, and individuals with heart or lung conditions.

The Prepare for Fire Season fact sheet and FEMA’s How to Prepare for a Wildfire provide essential guidance on readiness strategies such as making sure to get real-time alerts on emergencies, making an emergency plan, knowing the nearest evacuation zones, and many more.

As part of preparedness efforts, individuals may invest in portable air cleaners or high-efficiency HVAC system filters to lessen indoor air pollution during wildfire smoke disasters.

Properly sizing the air cleaner for the intended space and ensuring it does not produce ozone are important considerations.

To know more about air cleaners and the right one to set up at home, you can check the Indoor Air Filtration fact sheet and EPA’s Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home.

For those seeking cost-effective alternatives, do-it-yourself (DIY) air cleaners offer a viable option.

The Corsi-Rosenthal box method making use of multiple high-efficiency filters rated Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 or higher; and aligned with the airflow direction of a box fan, is recommended for optimal filtration efficiency and is more cost-efficient.

Instructional resources such as EPA’s Research on DIU Air Cleaners to Reduce Wildfire Smoke Indoors and ORCAA's video guide are available to help residents make DIY air cleaners.


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  • FirstOtter

    One of the better ways of preventing wildfires, especially prairie fires, is to ban fireworks. THROUGHOUT the COUNTY. The Commissioners have no problems with installing a burn ban but last year only the cities banned fireworks, the Commission didn't ban fireworks for any of Thurston County unincorporated areas, which are mostly rural areas with grass land or forest. The cities are far safer than rural areas when it comes to fire.

    And NO fireworks also means No 'Sky lanterns". those things are basically paper bags with a candle underneath them to carry them into the sky. We've found burnt out lanterns in the past, the morons who set them alight and into the sky don't live here so they don't really care about the possibility of setting the prairie alight. A few years ago when we had a bad drought, we caught a woman with her kids about to set off half a dozen sky lanterns at Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve. She was ANGRY because, 'they're not fireworks, they LANTERNS and pretty." She could NOT..or refused to..understand the danger she was putting total strangers in.

    Saturday, May 11 Report this