White Salmon Mayor Marla Keethler issued a proclamation Monday, Sept. 14, declaring a state of emergency due to poor air quality and fire hazards.
The city faces a double threat: White Salmon’s air quality specifically has been recorded at various points in recent days as the highest level in the world, as well as the region; and there are limited city firefighters and public safety personnel available, according to the declaration.
"Extreme conditions and likely demands placed on firefighting and other public safety resources in the event of a local wildfire event make it necessary that extraordinary measures be taken to prevent and reduce the risk of wildfires within the city, and to suppress any fires that may occur," the proclamation states.
In response, the proclamation orders all outdoor activities that could cause a fire are immediately suspended, including but not limited to backyard fires, barbecues, candles, and gas or electric yard/construction equipment that creates sparks.
The proclamations also order "that all citizens refrain from visiting city parks, natural areas, and/or trails during this time of extreme fire danger and hazardous air quality.
"It is recommended that all citizens refrain from non-essential outdoor activities," the order states.
The emergency proclamation was set to expire Oct. 1 or when the risk is abated, whichever occurs first, and will be confirmed by the White Salmon City Council at the next regularly scheduled city council meeting.