Gov. Inslee invites Trump to witness wildfires, effects of climate change
Ash raining down on much of Western Washington is a stark reminder of the forestland burning across the state and in Oregon.
Governor Jay Inslee visited the fire lines on Tuesday and took the time to call out President Trump.
“Our forests have turned into time bombs,” Inslee said. “We have been devastated by climate change. And I gotta tell ya, we ought to have the president, who’s denied climate change, come out here and smell this smoke and see this ash.”
Inslee declared a state of emergency over the weekend and officials have banned all outdoor burning in Washington state on Department of Natural Resources. The ban announced Tuesday prohibits outdoor burning on state forests, state parks and forestlands under DNR fire protection. Anyone caught violating the burn ban can face fines.
On Monday agency firefighters responded to 21 new fires. In total, there are 10 major wildfires in Washington state, burning more than 115,000 acres.
Poor air quality
The National Weather Service has issued an air quality alert for Western Washington through Wednesday afternoon. Air will be “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” and will be worst at elevations between 1,000-1,500 feet, such as parts of Sammamish, Issaquah and Maple Valley. Children, the elderly and people with respiratory illnesses are the most at risk.
Several school districts have canceled outdoor after-school activities. The Cle Elum-Roslyn School District went so far as to delay the start of the school year because of the Jolly Mountain wildfire burning hundreds of nearby homes. The district will start class on Monday, Sept. 11.
There have been reports of ash from the wildfire falling in Pierce County, Seattle, Covington, Issaquah, Renton Highlands and North Bend. The National Weather Service in Seattle said the ash is mainly falling in Pierce County and the south edge of King County.
KIRO 7 meteorologist Morgan Palmer says the smoke will begin to move out Wednesday evening into Thursday, when we could see some thunderstorms. The upside of so much smoke is it’s helping to keep temperatures lower than originally forecast. The National Weather Service expected temps in the upper 90s, but that has been closer to 90 degrees on Tuesday. Temperatures will hover in the low 80s on Wednesday.
The Associated Press and KIRO Radio staff contributed to this report.