Submitted by Washington State Department of Natural Resources
As temperatures around the state continue to climb and weather forecasts project historic heat on the horizon, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging residents to avoid starting outdoor fires. DNR is also increasing the fire danger ratings and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels, and expanding burn restrictions on DNR-protected lands in Washington on both sides of the Cascades.
“Washington state is experiencing a historic drought that is increasing fire danger across our state,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “We are implementing burn restrictions, but we can’t fully protect our forests or our communities without the public’s help.”
Fuels are in drier conditions this year than what is typical of July or August due to a lack of precipitation across the state, and with models projecting 110-degree temperatures or more in some parts of the state this coming weekend, the situation is ripe for severe fire danger.
“Hotter and drier weather conditions leave us more vulnerable to fast-spreading fires,” Franz said. “I’m urging Washingtonians this weekend to avoid activities that could accidentally spark a wildfire, especially outdoor fires. It could prove disastrous.”
Some tips to stay safe during this fire season include:
- Make sure your dirt bikes or ATV’s have operating spark arrestors;
- If you’re in an area where campfires are permitted, make sure you’ve doused, stirred and doused your fire again until it is cool to the touch before heading home.
- People should use this time at home to prepare for wildfire by creating defensible space.
- Reduce dry fuels around your home
- Clean rooftops and gutters
- Limb up your trees and remove dead branches
- Pay attention to burn ban restrictions and keep an eye on your burn pile.
Restrictions taking effect on Friday, June 25 in the following areas:
- Rule burning (small debris disposal fires) is NOT allowed in the following FDRA: Highlands and Methow.
- Campfires are NOT allowed except in approved designated campgrounds in the following FDRA: Highlands and Methow.
Fire Danger Rating Areas (FDRA) changes:
- Fire danger increases from moderate to high in the following FDRA: Chelan, Foothills, Highlands and Lower Yakima.
- Fire danger increases from high to very high in the following FDRA: Lower Basin.
The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will change to a Level 2 – Partial Hootowl in Zones 653, 656 and 658.
More information on the IFPL system is available on the DNR website.
Restrictions taking effect on Tuesday, June 29 in the following areas:
Industrial Fire Precaution Levels (IFPL) will increase to a Level 2 in Zone 686. Level 2 (called partial hoot owl) limits certain activities in the forest to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.; fire equipment and a fire watch are required.
Restrictions already in effect:
All outdoor burning was banned on June 23 on all forestlands under DNR protection except for the following counties: Island, San Juan, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties.
Fire danger rating level increased from low to moderate in the following counties:
- Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Whatcom counties
Discharging fireworks, incendiary ammunition or exploding targets are illegal on public lands. Individuals who violate these restrictions WILL be responsible for the cost of fighting the fire.
Campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds. Always be sure to check with the campground host or landowner before lighting any fire.