DNR Easing Burn Ban West of the Cascades

BURN BAN CONTINUES IN EASTERN WASHINGTON

The following statements only applies to DNR managed lands west of the Cascade Mountain Range. All other county burn ban restrictions are still in effect.

Summary: With cooler, wetter weather conditions in areas west of the Cascades, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is lifting the ban on outdoor burning on DNR-protected lands in western Washington, effective today.

Detail: “The fall weather pattern has begun on this side of the mountains,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, who directs DNR. “We’re now seeing higher levels of precipitation and relative humidity that enable us to lift the burn ban in western Washington.”

The situation is different in eastern Washington, where precipitation has been spotty and wildfire conditions are still dangerous. Firefighters continue to battle large fires on that side of the state, including the Okanogan Complex, Tunk Block, Kettle Complex and North Star.

Wildfire in Washington has burned 994,317 acres this year, making it the worst season on record.

County burn bans may still be in effect in various locations throughout western Washington, and residents should check with local fire districts for information. If campers and visitors are unsure about whether a campground is on DNR-protected land, they should check with local park authorities. Also, check with them on any campfire restrictions that may be in place.

Fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, sky lanterns, or tracer ammunition remain illegal on all DNR-protected lands.

Those who negligently allow fire to spread or who knowingly place forestlands in danger of destruction or damage are subject to possible civil liabilities and criminal penalties under state law. DNR, as well as anyone harmed by such a fire, may pursue damages that include loss of property and fire suppression costs.

The current burn ban will run through September 30, 2015, and applies to all lands under DNR fire protection east of the Cascade Mountains, which does not include federally owned lands.

DNR’s wildfire mission

Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, 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 on-call 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 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 400 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties. Additionally, adult offenders from the Department of Corrections and juvenile offenders from the Department of Social and Health Services-Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration support firefighting efforts through DNR’s Correctional Camps Program. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.

Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Communications Manager, 360-902-1122, janet.pearce@dnr.wa.gov