Air quality alert! Remember to protect your pets.

One of the ways to protect your pet when air quality is bad: Keep your windows closed.

With the poor air quality we are experiencing in our region, it is important to take steps to protect ourselves and our families—including our pets. Just as extreme temperatures and other weather or environmental conditions impact people, our pets are impacted, too. The risk is even greater for animals with respiratory or cardiovascular disease, animals with flat faces (brachycephalic), like pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats, and animals that are very old or very young. Birds (e.g., parrots, cockatiels, parakeets) are particularly susceptible.

Here are some tips to help you protect your pets:

  • Keep them inside with doors and windows closed.
  • Let dogs and cats outside only for potty breaks.
  • Avoid intense outdoor exercise—there are lots of indoor activities for dogs when they can’t go for normal walks or play time outside.
  • For homes without air conditioning, utilize other cooling methods for animals.
    • Make sure fresh water is available at all times.
    • Provide fresh fruits and vegetables for pets such as birds, rabbits and guinea pigs.
    • Utilize ceiling or portable fans.
    • Offer your pet frozen treats like DIY popsicles.
    • When possible, keep animals in the cooler areas of the home.
  • If you have chickens and/or miniature goats:
    • If possible, use feed and bedding that produce less dust.
    • Make sure their water is fresh and clean at all times.
    • Be extra diligent in keeping pens and coops clean—this will help reduce dust and other irritant.s

Signs of respiratory distress include:

  • Unusual coughing, sneezing, gagging.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Unusual discharge or watering from eyes or nose.
  • Open mouthed breathing.
  • Lethargy or weakness.
  • Reduced appetite.

If you think your pet(s) may be suffering from the effects of poor air quality, they should be seen by a veterinarian right away. Take care of yourself and your pets—they count on you!

Seattle City Light Crews Defend Skagit Hydroelectric Project from Fire

Seattle City Light crews are working today to reduce the risk of additional damage to the Skagit Hydroelectric Project from the advancing Goodell Creek Fire and are preparing to start repairs to damaged transmission lines.

Crews are working to clear vegetation around a wood pole line between the Diablo and Ross dams and powerhouses. The crews also plan to wrap the 70 wood poles in fire resistant material to reduce the risk of damage should the area burn. The line delivers backup power to restart generators and run control panels. The poles also carry fiber optic communications lines for the facilities.

Thursday, crews plan to start on-the-ground inspections 11 transmission towers for damage. Aerial views indicate that several of the towers have been damaged.

Safe access to the equipment in rugged terrain with fallen trees while the fire continues to burn is the first consideration for any of the work to take place. Provided with safe access, crews could start making repairs to the transmission lines by Saturday.

Damage to the transmission lines has limited City Light’s ability to generate and deliver power from the Skagit Hydroelectric Project. The utility has been able to resume generation of about 40 megawatts of electricity from its Gorge Powerhouse and deliver it on the North Mountain transmission line.

Typically, this time of year, the utility would be able to generate about 150 megawatts of power from the Skagit. The loss of transmission capacity is costing the utility about $100,000 a day.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

 

Summer Brush Fires Increase by 178% in Seattle

July 22, 2015 -Since June 1st, the Seattle Fire Department has responded to a 178% increase in brush fires. The warm, dry conditions are creating the perfect fuel for fires to burn.

By two p.m. today, the Seattle Firefighters has already responded to four brush fires and four beauty bark fires. The most serious fire started at 10:57 a.m. along the southbound lanes of I-5 at 130th. A fire burned from the freeway up the hillside charring a 200 foot by 100 foot section of dry grass and brush. The flames extended to ignite a tree and burn a section of concrete barrier at the top of the slope. It took five fire engines nearly an hour to completely extinguish the flames.

The fires today include:

Brush Fires:

  • 10:14 a.m. 3801 Discovery Park Blvd- Campfire extending to brush
  • 10:57 a.m.SB I5 at 130th-Brush Fire
  • 11:01 a.m. S Holgate St/5th Ave S- Brush Fire
  • 1:20 p.m. 9444 9th Av SW-Brush Fire

Beauty Bark Fires:

  • 6:12 a.m. 609 Yesler Way- Beauty Bark Fire
  • 6:48 a.m. 149 N 75th St-Beauty Bark Fire
  • 1:56 p.m. 1620 Melrose Avenue-Beauty Bark Fire

From June 1 to July 21 the Seattle Fire Department responded to 442 warm weather related fires. This includes 225 brush fires and 217 beauty bark fires. This is a 178% increase in brush fires and a 119% increase in beauty bark fires over 2014 responses.

During the same time period in 2014, the Seattle Firefighters responded to 180 fires including 81 brush fires and 99 beauty bark fires.

These fires pose a danger to those who live in a wildland/urban interface. There are steps homeowners can take to protect their properties.

  • Clear leaves and debris from roof, gutters, porches and decks.
  • Remove dead vegetation from under deck and porch and within 10 feet of house
  • Remove flammable wood piles, propane tanks away from homes and garage structures
  • Prune trees away from homes
  • For homes adjacent to large areas of greenbelt, consider defensible space between home and landscaping
  • Homes built on slopes should mitigate dead dry vegetation below and around structure.
  • Either keep lawn hydrated or if its’ brown, cut it down.
  • Practice an evacuation plan out of your home and out of your neighborhood.

A link to wildfire prevention tips:

WSP Wildland Fire Safety Tips

DNR Wildfire Prevention Tips