For a large portion of the country 2012 will be remembered as “the year of the devastating drought”. In Washington state the summer of 2012 will be widely remembered for devastating wildfires. Over a two week period in September numerous wildfires were started from lightening strikes across the middle portion of the state. Some of those continue to burn. State Department of Ecology officials continue to send out air quality warnings due to smoke. DOE’s Jani Gilbert talks about weather patterns that can aide or hinder the situation.
GILBERT: Our change in the weather pattern to colder air brings with it some winds that we weren’t having for quite a while. Those winds do a couple of things, and it’s good news and bad news. The wind can scour out an area, a valley, and take the smoke away. But it can also at the same time aggravate the wildfires and cause them to spread even more.
Gilbert lists a few things farmers and ranchers can do for their animals to protect and aide them during periods of unhealthy air quality.
GILBERT: Just the same as with humans - keep them still as much as possible so that they’re not breathing in more air. Provide plenty of fresh water located near feeding areas, limit dust exposure by feeding low or dust free feeds, and sprinkling or misting the livestock.
A burn ban has been extended by Governor Gregoire for all counties east of the Cascade crest until midnight Sunday, October 7. To check for air quality monitoring information visit the Department of Ecology website.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.