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County declares burn ban

"At noon Friday, all the fires in Island County went out.At least they should have.On Friday morning, the Island County Sheriff's Office placed Island County under a burn ban. More than two weeks of high temperatures and low precipitation have dried Island County forests and grasslands to a point at which the risk of wildfires is too high to allow further burning.According to Jan Smith, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, the only outdoor fires allowed under the ban are recreational and cooking fires that are contained withing approved fire pits. Those pits must be lined with metal or concrete and must be in established campgrounds. Barbecues are also legal.People with outdoor burning permits from the state Department of Natural Resources may not burn under any conditions. Smaller, unpermitted burns for removing brush or other yard waste are also illegal.South Whidbey experienced a wave of small grass fires before, during, and after the July 4 holiday. The use of any fireworks is also illegal.The ban will stay in effect for 30 days unless Sheriff Mike Hawley, who also serves as the county's fire marshal, ends the ban. "

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