Heat Wave: Burn ban, cooling centers in Tacoma, Pierce County

Dry weather and forecasts calling for continued dry heat prompted the Pierce County Fire Marshal to declare a county-wide burn ban beginning this week and continuing until further notice.

The indefinite ban applies to all outdoor burning except for small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or private property with the owner’s permission. The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and grills will continue to be allowed under the ban. Those with Washington State Department of Natural Resources burn permits are advised to call 1-800-323-BURN for more information.

The ban was issued jointly with the Pierce County Fire Marshal; Pierce County Fire Chiefs’ Association; King, Kitsap, Snohomish, and Mason counties; and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

The Pierce County Department of Emergency Management is reminding residents to stay out of the heat as much as possible and to stay hydrated. Vulnerable residents and those seeking relief are encouraged to take advantage of cooler air in public buildings such as Pierce County libraries, local malls, movie theaters, and other large stores.

Similarly, the City of Tacoma advises community members to take extra precautions to prevent heat-related injuries.

City libraries and other public facilities can be utilized for protection from heat, and a complete listing of Tacoma Public Library locations and hours of operation is available online at tacomapubliclibrary.org.

During this extended period of high temperatures, the Tacoma Fire Department’s Emergency Management division offers the following safety tips: Monitor those at high risk (infants and children are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids; people 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently, and are less likely to sense and seek refuge from extreme changes in temperature); Do not leave children or pets in cars (never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open); Use common sense (don’t overexert yourself and drink plenty of fluids).

Additional safety tips are available online here.

UPDATE | FRI., JUNE 26, 2015 @ 12 P.M. — Pierce County has issued the following information regarding regional cooling centers:

Excessive heat advisory issued

The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement for hot weather for parts of the Puget Sound area this weekend. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 80s to mid 90s on Friday through Sunday.

The Pierce County Department of Emergency Management reminds everyone to stay out of the heat as much as they can, stay hydrated, and to check on elderly neighbors during this time. Also, do not leave children or pets in cars unattended at all—temperatures can quickly become deadly.

Citizens are encouraged to take advantage of cooler air in public buildings such as Pierce County libraries, local malls, movie theaters, and other large stores.

Other facilities that are open include:


The following locations allow domesticated pets to come in with their owners to get out of the heat. Pets need to be on a leash or in a crate and owners must provide water if they plan on being in the facility for long periods of time.

  • Petco: hours may vary store to store
  • Petsmart: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Mon – Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sun., all Petsmart stores in Pierce County
  • VCA (Veterinary Centers of America): Pacific Animal Hospital Pac Ave, Pacific Ave. S., Open 24 hrs/day

The National Weather Service also warns the combination of hot temperatures and extended period of dry weather combine to create a situation in which the fire danger is high. Adhere to the Burn Ban. With the Fourth of July holiday just around the corner, practice safety with your fireworks. Have a bucket of water or a hose nearby. Call 9-1-1 if a fire emergency arises. An alternative is to attend professional fireworks display instead.

For more information on those most at risk and how to avoid heat-related illnesses visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department or the National Weather Service Web site.