Burn ban archives for: Island County

Air quality burn ban ends in Island, Skagit, Whatcom

The Northwest Clean Air Agency is ending a Stage 1 air quality burn ban for Island, Skagit and Whatcom counties because air quality has improved.

This air quality burn ban was separate from the three counties’ fire safety burn bans on outdoor burning, which were called in July, remain in effect because of increased fire danger:

“We’re lifting the air quality burn ban because levels of fine particles from wildfire smoke are dropping throughout the region,” said NWCAA Executive Director Mark Buford. “We would like to thank everyone who did their part to protect the air and people’s health during the air quality burn ban.”

“Please remember that the counties’ fire safety burn bans are still in place until local fire officials determine that fire danger has passed,” Buford said.

NWCAA will continue to assess air quality while wildfires in British Columbia, Eastern Washington and other areas continue to produce smoke that may reach local communities. Another air quality burn ban would be called if needed.

Check NWCAA’s website (www.nwcleanairwa.gov) or WABurnBans.net for up-to-date air quality burn ban information and follow @NWCleanAir on Twitter and on our Facebook page.

More information

  • Washington Smoke Information blog: wasmoke.blogspot.com
  • Statewide air quality monitoring: Washington Department of Ecology.
  • Health questions? Contact your local health department:
    • Skagit County Health: 360-416-1500
    • Island County Health: 360-679-7350
    • Whatcom County Health: 360-778-6000

 The Northwest Clean Air Agency is responsible for enforcing federal, state and local air quality regulations in Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties. In addition to permitting and regulating industrial sources of air pollution, the agency provides services and information related to asbestos, indoor air quality, outdoor burning, wood stoves, and fireplaces. More information about the agency is available at www.nwcleanairwa.gov.

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.

Fire Precaution Levels to Increase in Washington

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today the following changes in industrial fire precaution levels (IFPL) on DNR-protected lands.
Effective Friday July 27, 2018:
  • IFPL will increase to a Level 2 in zones 678W.
  • IFPL will remain a Level 2 in zone 684 and 686.
  • IFPL will remain a Level 1 in zones 685, 678E, 687 and 688.
  • Fire danger remains very high in Okanogan county
  • Fire danger remains high in Ferry, Lincoln, Spokane, and Stevens counties.
  • Fire danger remains moderate in Pend Oreille County.
Daily updates on burn restrictions are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on the Fire Danger and Outdoor Burning risk map at https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/ and IFPL map at http://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, industrial and forest landowner 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 fire 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’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.

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.