September is bringing about a return to normal Southwest Washington rainfall, but the occasional cloudbursts that have showered the area during the last week have not yet completely eased fears of wildfires overall.
Cowlitz County remains at a moderate fire risk status, and the state Department of Natural Resources lists all but five Washington counties at moderate to very high fire risk status.
Lt. Bryan Ditterick, spokesman for Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue, said it’s been “a pretty hot summer,” with wildfires affecting upwards of 100,000 acres in Washington.
Statewide bans remain in effect, including the burn pile ban, industrial burning ban and ban on dispersed camp fires. These bans are set to expire Sept. 30.
“Right now there is a burn ban on, and it should be lifted on the 30th,” Ditterick said. “The best practice is just to not have a fire.”
In the last week, 1.01 inches of rain fell at the city of Longview Mint Farm water plant. That’s about half the 2.10 inches that fell in the city in the four months from May 1 through Aug. 31.
The recent increase in moisture in some portions of the state led to a lift on a DNR-imposed target shooting ban. Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz announced that the shooting ban on state lands will end Saturday, two weeks earlier than its Sept. 30 expiration date. Individual sites may have continued restrictions where fire risk remains high.
“Thank you to our target shooters for your patience and for taking precautions to reduce wildfires this summer,” Franz said in a prepared statement Thursday. “I am pleased to announce that current weather conditions — combined with the great work of our wildland firefighters — mean we can once again allow recreational shooting.”