Burn ban archives for: Thurston County

DNR eases campfire restrictions after rains

Other outdoor burning still prohibited due to continuing high fire danger

OLYMPIA – With rain and cooler temperatures easing fire danger across Washington, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is lifting restrictions on recreational campfires.

Effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, campfires will be allowed in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds Washington lands protected by DNR.

Because forests and rangelands remain dry from the summer’s low precipitation totals, other forms of outdoor burning, such as debris burning, remain prohibited under the burn ban ordered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

“We’re thankful to have rain help wet our landscapes, but as we saw with a quick-moving fire east of Ellensburg Sunday evening, we’re not out of fire season quite yet,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “I urge everyone to check with their local authorities before lighting campfires.”

Check local restrictions

Counties and local fire districts may have their own continued campfire bans. Burn restrictions on federally-owned lands, such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges or other areas are administered by federal agencies. Check local restrictions, campground signs or with campground hosts before starting a campfire.

For current information on burn restrictions, call 1-800-323-BURN or visit DNR’s webpage showing fire danger and burning restrictions by county: www.dnr.wa.gov/burn-restrictions.

Those choosing to have a campfire in allowed areas should:

  • Use an approved or provided fire pit only; don’t create a new one.
  • Keep the campfire small.
  • Keep plenty of water and a shovel nearby.
  • Never leave the campfire unattended.
  • To extinguish a campfire: drown with water, mix ashes, scrape partially-burned sticks and logs, and alternate drowning and mixing until cold. A campfire too hot to touch, is too hot to leave.

 More than 90 percent of Washington’s wildfires this year have been human-caused. As of Sept. 19, 2017, DNR has responded to 745 wildfires this year. Here is a year-to-date comparison of the last 5 years:

  • 2012 – 671 fires for 67,455 acres
  • 2013 – 722 fires for 126,027 acres
  • 2014 – 808 fires for 314,565 acres
  • 2015 – 953 fires for 753,104 acres
  • 2016 – 766 fires for 16,403 acres

Escaped and abandoned campfires are one of the state’s leading causes of wildfires, with an average of 105 fires started by campfires over the past five years. Washington also sees an average of 140 fires started by debris burning every year.

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 on-call fire department and participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.

 

Thurston County Fire Safety Ban on Recreational Fires Extended to Sept. 30, 2017

The Thurston County Outdoor Burn Ban on residential materials prohibiting some recreational fires, effective as of 10 a.m., Wednesday August 2, has been extended and is now scheduled to end on Saturday, September 30, 2017. 

This burn ban applies to outdoor recreational burning with the exception of recreational fires in approved concrete, stone or metal pits like those commonly found in campgrounds. The use of charcoal briquettes, gas and propane barbeques will continue to be allowed under the ban. 

The Annual Fire Safety Burn Ban on Land Clearing and Residential yard-waste fires (July 15-Sept. 30 annually) remains in effect as well. Residents who wish to burn yard waste after the burn ban is lifted MUST acquire a free Burn Permit via the ORCAA Website, https://www.orcaa.org/forms/thurston-county-burn-permit/. Note that all residential yard waste burning is permanently prohibited by state law within all Cities and Urban Growth Area (UGA) boundaries. Violations of burn bans may result in fines.

The Thurston County Fire Marshal in consultation with the County Manager, the Board of County Commissioners and the Thurston County Fire Chiefs Association, determined that current and predicted weather conditions within the county have created substantial fire danger and there is a need to extend restrictions on outdoor burning to all lands regulated by Thurston County. 

Thurston County Emergency Management Coordinator Andrew Kinney said, “The National Weather Service shows above normal temperatures with little chance of rain likely through September 20.” He said, “We have already seen fires in Thurston County and ask residents to do all they can to help prevent these fires from occurring.” 

Other than following the current ban in place, Emergency Management asks residents to consider no charcoal fires, no open fires, knocking down dry grass in the morning when it is still covered in dew, not setting hot power equipment in dry grass, not parking hot motor vehicles in dry grass, checking for dragging chains or low hanging chains when towing trailers or boats, and making sure ATVs and ORVs have spark arrestors. 

For more tips on how to reduce fire risks, visit: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/WildfirePrevention, or http://www.firewise.org/ 

THURSTON COUNTY BURN BAN – COUNTYWIDE OUTDOOR BURN BAN

The Thurston County Outdoor Burn Ban on residential materials has been expanded county-wide to now prohibit some recreational fires, effective as of 10 a.m., Wednesday August 2 and ending Monday, September 4, 2017.

This burn ban applies to outdoor recreational burning with the exception of recreational fires in approved concrete, stone or metal pits like those commonly found in campgrounds. The use of charcoal briquettes, gas and propane barbeques will continue to be allowed under the ban.

The Thurston County Fire Marshal in consultation with the County Manager, the Board of County Commissioners and the Executive Committee of the Thurston County Fire Chiefs’ Association, determined that current weather conditions within the county have created substantial fire danger and there is a need to enact restrictions on outdoor burning to all lands regulated by Thurston County.

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. Additionally, residential outdoor burn bans began July 1 in Jefferson and Clallam Counties. 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 http://www.orcaa.org/burning/residential-burning