Category Archives: General Air News

Thurston County Burn Ban – Countywide Outdoor Burn Ban

Thurston County Burn Ban – Countywide Outdoor Burn Ban
Current weather conditions create substantial fire danger

​OLYMPIA – The Thurston County Fire Marshal, in consultation with the County Manager, the Board of County Commissioners and the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA), 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.

The Fire Safety Burn Ban applies to residential yard-waste burning as well as all Land Clearing Burns. At this time, recreational fires are allowed on private residential properties and in established fire rings within official county, state or federal campgrounds.

Recreational fires must be contained 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 restrictions on outdoor burning during the summer has resulted in a significant drop in brush fires and property damage each of the past several years, according to fire officials.

The Thurston County Outdoor Burn Ban is effective as of 3 p.m., Monday, July 16, and ending Saturday, September 22, 2018.

To stay up-to-date on the status of burn bans, please visit for the ORCAA website at https://www.orcaa.org.

(Original published July 16, 2018)

Effective Aug. 2, DNR Bans Outdoor Burning Statewide

Some campfires still allowed, check local restrictions before lighting any fire

OLYMPIA –Ninety-six percent of the state is experiencing drought-like conditions, which means a high risk of wildfires. In response, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is instituting a statewide ban on outdoor burning on the 13 million acres of forests and state parks under DNR fire protection.

Per the Commissioner’s Order, the ban begins Thursday, August 2, 2018.

Included in the outdoor burning ban are burn piles, prescribed burns, and the use of charcoal briquettes.

“When the risk of wildfire is this high – and when so many of our firefighting resources are already committed – we must take significant steps to protect our communities and firefighters,” said Commissioner Hilary Franz. “I know this is an inconvenience, and I appreciate the public understanding that this is not a safe time for intentional burning within our forests.”

The burn ban does not include federally managed lands, such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges, or other areas administered by federal agencies.

Campfires are still allowed in approved fire pits within some designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds.

To avoid accidental wildfires, the public can practice these prevention tips:

Camping and recreating

  • Only build campfires where authorized and when not under a burn ban; put them completely out before leaving camp, even for a few minutes; use plenty of water and stir until the coals are cold to the touch. Check locally before lighting a campfire as conditions may change and counties and local fire districts may have additional or new burn restrictions.
  • Dispose of lit smoking materials appropriately.
  • Fireworks, incendiary ammunition and exploding targets start fires and are illegal to use or discharge on public lands, including all state forests.

 Vehicles and Towing

  • Be sure chains and other metal parts aren’t dragging from your vehicle or trailer. They can throw sparks and start fires.
  • Make sure all off-road vehicles have a properly functioning and approved spark arrester.
  • Be careful driving through or parking on dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes can start the grass on fire. You may not even notice the fire until it’s too late.
  • Check tire pressure and condition. Driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks.
  • Have brakes serviced regularly to prevent brake pads wearing too thin; metal on metal can spark or drop pieces of hot brake pad.

Daily updates on burn restrictions are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on DNR’s website at www.dnr.wa.gov/OutdoorBurning.

The outdoor burning ban is expected to last through Sept. 30, 2018, though may be extended or shortened based upon ongoing fire conditions.

Stay connected during wildfire season

Anyone who spots a wildfire should call 911 as soon as possible to report it.

DNR’s wildfire mission

Led 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 land. DNR is the state’s largest wildfire fighting force.

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.

 

Stage 1 Burn Ban Continues For King, Kitsap, Pierce, & Snohomish Counties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 3, 2017

STAGE 1 BURN BAN CONTINUES FOR KING, KITSAP, PIERCE, & SNOHOMISH COUNTIES

All outdoor burning is prohibited until air quality improves

Significant wildfire smoke from British Columbia remains in our region, and is expected through Friday. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is continuing a Stage 1 air quality burn ban for King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties.

This ban is in effect until further notice and is in addition to existing fire safety burn bans.

With winds from British Columbia moving wildfire smoke into our region, air pollution levels have become UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS and UNHEALTHY in many parts of Puget Sound.  We expect these conditions to continue at least through Friday and possibly longer.

The purpose of the burn ban is to reduce any additional harm to sensitive populations and the general public from excess air pollution, in addition to existing fire safety burn bans. The Clean Air Agency will continue to closely monitor the situation for purposes of air quality burn bans.

No outdoor burning during a Stage 1 air quality burn ban including:

  • No charcoal barbeques or similar solid fuel devices
  • No fire pits, chimineas, fire bowls, or similar free-standing devices
  • No campfires or bonfires
  • No fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves, or uncertified inserts*
  • No agricultural fires (as described in the agricultural burn permit)
  • Local fire districts do not grant Native American ceremonial fire permits outside of tribal lands during air quality burn bans.

It is OK to use natural gas and propane grills, stoves, or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.

* The only exception to using fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves or inserts, is if the homeowner has a previously approved ‘No Other Adequate Source of Heat’ exemption from the Clean Air Agency

Everyone, and especially children, pregnant women, older adults, and those with heart and breathing problems should avoid physical exertion outdoors.  If possible, seek clean, air-conditioned indoor air  (e.g. public libraries, “cooling centers”,  community and senior centers).

The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors, especially when exercising. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung and heart problems, people with diabetes, children, and older adults (over age 65).

Visit pscleanair.org/burnban to view the current burn ban status and:

  • Download our free mobile app “Burn Ban 411
  • Find out what other alerts might be available in the area

For more information:

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The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is an air quality management agency serving King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Created as a result of the 1967 Washington Clean Air Act, the agency protects public health by adopting and enforcing air quality regulations, educating individuals and businesses about clean-air choices and sponsoring voluntary initiatives to improve air quality.

The Agency fully complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and does not discriminate based on race, color, sex, or national origin in its programs and activities. In addition, the Agency also assures non-discrimination on the basis of creed, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital, or veteran status. For more information, or to submit a title VI Complaint, go to www.pscleanair.org or call (206) 343-8800.