Drought Declaration Issued by Inslee, Who Warns Washington Could Face Its ‘Worst Wildfire Season Ever’
On Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared an emergency drought, warning that the state could suffer its “worst wildfire season to date.”
“In most of our state, I’ve declared a drought emergency. “These terrible drought conditions are putting a lot of areas in WA under a lot of stress right now,” Inslee tweeted.
“In Central and Eastern Washington, wildfires are raging. Our state could be in for the worst wildfire season on record, with disastrous consequences for people, wildlife, and property. Smoke from wildfires will affect every Washingtonian’s health, as we’ve seen in recent years,” Inslee stated in a follow-up tweet.
The drought designation “excludes metro regions of King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties,” according to Inslee, since they are projected to “have sufficient water storage to meet needs through the summer, & to maintain acceptable water levels in neighboring rivers to preserve fish.”
The decision comes after a “historically dry spring and summer, followed by a record-breaking heat wave,” according to the Washington Department of Ecology, which has impacted the state’s water supply.
“In late May, Ecology issued a drought advisory for 29 counties, citing the fourth-driest March-April period on record. Throughout June, the weather remained dry. March through June precipitation is tied with 1926 as the second driest period since 1895, according to the statement. “Now, Ecology is reporting symptoms of stressed fish, as are the departments of Fish and Wildlife, Agriculture, and Natural Resources; farmers and ranchers are being compelled to reduce irrigation, and wildfires are blazing through dry vegetation.”
“A drought emergency” indicates that “water supply is predicted to be below 75% of average, and there is a risk of undue hardship to water consumers and uses,” according to the state’s ecology department.
Washington and several other states in the Pacific Northwest have been hit by a wave of scorching heat during the last few weeks. Seattle had already experienced record-breaking temperatures, with the Washington Department of Health reporting that at least 91 people had died as a result of the heat wave.
Several wildfires have erupted around the state as a result of the hot weather and dry circumstances. There are now four active wildfires in Washington, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. This is a condensed version of the information.