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Burn Bans called in Southwest Washington

Debris burning illegal in Lewis, Skamania, Clark and Cowlitz counties

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in coordinating with Lewis, Skamania, Clark and Cowlitz counties, is implementing burn restrictions as the fire danger rises to moderate.
More than 50 percent of the wildfires reported in the DNR’s Pacific Cascade Region so far this year have been from debris burns escaping 1 to 20 weeks after the initial burn.
Therefore, effective 12:01 a.m. July 1, 2018:
  1. DNR burn permits issued previously will be suspended until the fire danger subsides in the fall.
  2. Rule burning – smaller burn piles normally allowed when following certain rules – are no longer allowed on DNR protected lands until fall.
  3. LewisSkamaniaClark and Cowlitz counties ban debris burning on lands protected by the fire districts within their respective counties.
  4. The fire danger rises to “Moderate”.
This coordinated change means it is now illegal to burn debris across all lands in these counties (except federal and tribal) until further notice.
Burning piles of wood and other debris are a common cause of wildfires. Those who have already burned piles this winter or spring are encouraged to double check their piles by digging into the remains and feeling for heat.
Rain or snow alone won’t put out a burn pile – they can actually create a mud cap that traps burning, smoldering material below for long periods of time. Once higher temperatures arrive, the cap dries out letting the fire escape.
These jurisdictions currently still allow recreational campfires. However, always check locally throughout the summer for new restrictions before lighting a campfire.
Daily updates on DNR burn restrictions and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on the Fire Danger and Outdoor Burning risk map at www.dnr.wa.gov/burn-restrictions and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels map www.dnr.wa.gov/IFPL.

DNR’s wildfire mission

Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. DNR is the state’s largest wildland fire department, with more than 1,000 employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes more than 800 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 550 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties.
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Fire danger and fire precaution level increases in northeast Washington

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today the following changes in fire danger rating and industrial fire precaution levels (IFPL) on DNR-protected lands.
Effective Wednesday, July 11, 2018:
  • Fire danger will increase from low to moderate in Pend Oreille and Ferry counties and Stevens County outside fire districts 1 and 2.
  • Fire danger will increase from moderate to high in Lincoln and Spokane counties and Stevens County inside fire districts 1 and 2.
  • Fire danger remains high in Okanogan County.
Effective Wednesday, July 11, 2018:
  • IFPL will increase to a Level 2 in zone 684.
  • IFPL will remain a Level 1 in zones 678W, 678E, 685, 686 and 687 and 688.
Daily updates on burn restrictions and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on the Fire Danger and Outdoor Burning risk map at www.dnr.wa.gov/burn-restrictions and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels map www.dnr.wa.gov/IFPL.
The IFPL system
Industrial Fire Precaution Levels apply to all industrial operations that might cause a fire on or adjacent to lands protected from fire by DNR (WAC 332-24-301); this applies to logging, road construction and other industrial operations.
The levels are established for each of the 38 “shutdown zones” in the state on the basis of National Fire Danger Rating System data.
There are four IFPL levels:
  • Level 1(closed season):  fire equipment and a fire watch are required
  • Level 2 (partial hoot owl):  limits certain activities to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.; fire equipment and a fire watch are required
  • Level 3 (partial shutdown):  prohibits some activities and limits others to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.; fire equipment and a fire watch are required
  • Level 4 (general shutdown):  prohibits all activities

DNR leadership and wildfire mission

The Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and DNR are responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. DNR is the state’s largest wildland fire department, with more than 1,000 employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes more than 800 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 550 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties.
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Residential Burn Ban in Effect July 15 – October 1 in Thurston County

Outdoor burning of residential materials in Thurston County is prohibited July 15 through October 1. This seasonal prohibition, crafted by the Thurston County Residential Outdoor Burning Committee, has been in effect for many years. The Committee includes representatives from Thurston County, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), local fire agencies and Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA).

Outdoor burning is prohibited year-round for residents within the cities of Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey, as well as for county residents within the Urban Growth Area (UGA) boundary. At this time, recreational fires are not affected by the seasonal curtailment. Recreational fires are fires used for entertainment or cooking purposes and are made of either charcoal or seasoned firewood. They can be no larger than 3 feet diameter.

The restrictions on outdoor burning during the summer and early autumn has resulted in a significant drop in brush fires and property damage each of the past couple years, according to fire officials.

“Safety stands as the most important consideration here,” said Dan Nelson, spokesman for ORCAA. “Also, as the restrictions have greatly reduced the number of escaped brush fires in the county each year, there has been a reduction in big smoke events as well.”

Fortunately, safe and effective alternatives to burning exist. Residents have several options for disposing of their yard waste. These include the following:

  • Composting: Maintaining a home compost pile provides you with a ready source of rich soil additives that will get ride of your yard waste while reducing (or eliminating) your need for expensive fertilizes. Use the natural compost as a soil additive in your gardens to keep your flowers bright, and your vegetables plump and tasty.
  • Chipping/Grinding: Bigger, woody debris may be too large for the compost bin. That’s where a chipper comes in. Rent one yourself, or get together with your neighbors to do a neighborhood chipping party. Wood chips can be composted, or used as ground cover around open flower beds (to supplement or replace expensive beauty bark).
  • County-Wide Curbside Organics Bin, Offered through LeMay, www.lemayinc.comCurbside organics/yard waste service is available in virtually all areas of Thurston County. To sign up for service and have a bin delivered to your home, call LeMay Enterprises at (360) 923-0111. If you live in the City of Olympia, call (360) 753-8368, option 1. (Yard waste bins are now called “organics” bins.) For more information, visit the Food Plus Organics Recycling web page.
  •  Yard Debris Drop-Off Site located at:

Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center,
2418 Hogum Bay Road NE
Lacey, WA 98516

For more information on the outdoor burning rules throughout ORCAA’s jurisdiction, visit https://www.orcaa.org/outdoor-burning/residential-outdoor-burning/

 

Fire safety Burn Ban in effect as of July 9, 2018.

The Pacific County Department of Community Development  issued a Fire Safety Burn Ban in conjunction with local fire departments as well as the  and the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency

Fire Marshall Tim Crose says that the ban includes all outdoor burning other than recreational fires. All residential burning in conjunction with land clearing is prohibited until further notice.

Recreational campfires will still be allowed as long as they are within an improved fire pit in designated campgrounds. Campfires on private land will still be allowed if approved safety measures are followed.

  • The campfire shall be no greater than 3-feet in diameter and constructed of a ring of metal, stone or brick 8-inches above ground surface, with a 2-foot- wide area cleared down to exposed soil surrounding the outside of the pit.
  • The campfire shall have an area at least 10-feet around it cleared of all flammable material and at least 20-feet of clearance from overhead flammable materials or fuels.
  • The campfire must be attended at all times by a responsible person at least 16-years old with the ability to extinguish the fire with a shovel and a 5-gallon bucket of water or with a connected and charged water hose.

Completely extinguish campfires by pouring water or moist soil in them and stirring with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch.

The use of self-contained camp stoves is encouraged as an alternative.

For more information, the county asks that you contact your local fire district or the Pacific County Community Development offices in Long Beach at 360-642-9382 or South Bend at 360-875-9356.

You can also call the Department of Natural Resources for updates on burn restrictions at 1-800-323-BURN or by visiting www2.wadnr.gov/burn-risk, or ORCAA at 1-800-422-5623 and www.orcaa.org.