U.S.A.: Budget shortfall, drought real bad mix

USA:Peninsula agencies gird for a long, dry summer

11March 2005

published by PeninsulaDaily News

Gov. Christine Gregoire, responding to predictions of the worst drought since 1977, on Thursday declared a statewide drought emergency.

Gregoire directed her Emergency Drought Committee to gear up an emergency command center, track and coordinate responses by state agencies and make sure state resources reach where they are needed.

On the North Olympic Peninsula, fire officials said Thursday they are already bracing for what will likely be a very dry summer.

“We’re expecting a drier than usual season, and we’ll be ramping up our wildland stuff, equipment and training, a little bit earlier this year,” said Chuck Boggs, chief of Jefferson County Fire District No. 1, which covers the Chimacum area.

Usually they start in June, Boggs said, but this year they plan to ready their equipment in April.

Roger Moeder, assistant chief of Clallam County Fire District No. 3 that covers the county’s east end, said the district will start its wildland fire training at the end of this month, and firefighters are preparing to go to Eastern Washington, if needed, to assist the state Department of Natural Resources.

“Unless we get a significant amount of rain, yeah, things are going to dry out,” Moeder said.

The Clallam County Chiefs Association, made up of the county’s fire chiefs, is working to implement an annual burn ban from June 1 to Sept. 30, said District 3 Chief Steve Vogel.

Contractors and residents are asked to do their burning early this year to avoid peak dry times.“We’re trying to take a proactive step, rather than a reactive step,” Vogel said.


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