With smoky skies covering Washington, many Eastside residents woke up to a layer of ash on their cars.
Eastside Fire and Rescue Captain Steve Westlake, community liaison officer, said in a press release Tuesday morning that local dispatch centers have been inundated with calls about the smoke and visible ash in the air.
Westlake explained that the smoke and ash are not caused by local fires, but by the Jolly Mountain Fire near Cle Elum, the Norse Peak Fire by Mount Rainier and other smaller fires in Eastern Washington.
“We appreciate the public being diligent with reports,” Westlake said in the press release. “If you do see flames, please report it to 911 and crews will check it out.”
Westlake advised the public that the smoke and ash will be worse for people living on hills.
Eastside Fire encourages the elderly and those with breathing issues to stay indoors and in a place with air conditioning. Everyone should remember to keep hydrated as temperatures soar again today.
Westlake told the Reporter that over 1,000 people living near the Jolly Mountain Fire have been evacuated, but that there “haven’t been any houses that burned.”
The fire, which was started by lightning on Aug. 11, is 20,975 acres in size, equivalent to approximately 33 square miles. Firefighters from around the state were mobilized under the Washington State Fire Services Resource Mobilization Plan on Saturday morning.
Westlake said there are no EFR firefighters currently at Jolly Mountain, but that there are EFR members “spread throughout the state” as part of mobilizations for other fires.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide state of emergency on Saturday in light of the wildfires burning throughout Washington.
For more information, contact Captain Steve Westlake at 425-313-3247 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.