A burn ban will go into effect July 30 for unincorporated Island County.
Sheriff Rick Felici, who also serves as the fire marshal, announced the Type 1 burn ban Monday afternoon in response to atmospheric conditions of reduced moisture levels, low humidity and warmer weather that have all increased the risk of fire within the county.
The ban prohibits outdoor burning, except for recreational fires in approved fire pits. Outdoor burning of natural debris is not allowed, even with a permit.
Recreational fires are defined as being less than three feet in diameter and two feet high and are for cooking or pleasure only. They must be contained within a fire pit that has been cleared of all combustible material within a 10-foot radius and monitored constantly, with a water source nearby.
Residential yard debris and land-clearing burning are permanently banned in Coupeville, Freeland, Langley and Oak Harbor, as well as the urban growth areas surrounding the municipalities.
Snohomish County announced a burn ban that went into effect July 23.
The ban comes at the tail end of what is forecasted to be a week of hot weather, with temperatures predicted to be in the low 70s in Oak Harbor, the upper 60s in Coupeville and the high 70s in Langley. Although these temperatures are high for the area, Whidbey Island largely escapes extreme heat waves that are currently hitting other parts of the country.
The ban also comes after at least one brush fire. On July 21, Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue extinguished a small vegetation fire started by mowing operations on Ebey Road, according to a social media post.
Fire Chief Ed Hartin said light fuels are drying quickly, particularly with increased temperatures, which leads to a risk of more significant vegetation fires.
Last year, a Type 1 burn ban for Island County went into effect one month earlier, at the end of June.