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DNR eases burn ban to permit western Washington campfires

Fire danger still high in eastern Washington

OLYMPIA – Recent rains and cooler temperatures across western Washington are prompting the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reduce campfire restrictions west of the Cascade Mountains. Effective Friday, Sept. 2, campfires will be allowed within approved fire pits in designated campgrounds on western Washington lands protected by DNR.

The campfire prohibition continues on DNR-protected lands across eastern Washington. The statewide ban on other outdoor burning, such as debris burning, also continues.

“With this wetter weather in western Washington, easing the burn ban in time to permit campfires over Labor Day weekend is the right thing to do,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, who oversees DNR.

“There is still significant fire risk on the east side of the Cascades, however, so we can’t permit campfires there,” said Goldmark. “We ask the public to help firefighters by observing the burn ban, with this exception for westside campfires in approved fire pits.”

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.

Check local restrictions

Individual jurisdictions may have their own continued campfire bans. 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.fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/. For a description of activities prohibited by the burn ban, go to www.dnr.wa.gov/burn-bans.

 DNR’s wildfire mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department, responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands in Washington. During fire season, DNR’s wildfire force includes more than 1,300 trained employees. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.

 

DNR Bans all Recreational Fires and BBQs on state-protected lands — including State Parks

With the arrival this week of the most dangerous fire weather of the year, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark is expanding the statewide burn ban effective noon today, Aug. 17 to prohibit all campfires on DNR-protected lands through Sept. 30, 2016.

“After a relatively mild summer, we are entering a period of critical fire weather on both sides of the Cascades,” said Goldmark. “The greatest fire danger right now comes from carelessness. It’s essential that people understand the risks involved and do not spark any fires.”

Goldmark sees special wildfire risk over the coming days throughout the state, as high-pressure weather patterns will keep away the marine moisture that normally limits the spread of wildfire. The ability of Washington’s forests and grasslands to resist wildfire remains weakened after last year’s record drought.

The statewide burn ban applies to state forests, state parks and forestlands protected by DNR firefighters. It prohibits all outdoor burning, including campfires in fire pits and the use of charcoal briquettes. Liquid gas or propane camp stoves that do not use solid briquettes and have on/off controls are permitted.

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

This fire season to date, there have been 527 fires on 3,372 acres. By comparison, at this point in 2015, there had been 803 fires burning 319,551 acres. In 2014 by this date, there were 590 fires burning 190,742 acres.

In 2015, a record drought, low snowpack and weeks of hot, dry weather brought Washington’s worst-ever wildfire season, burning more than a million acres across the state.

“Our fire crews have been effective so far this season in keeping fires small and getting them out quickly,” said Goldmark. “I ask all Washingtonians to give them a hand by being careful and responsible when working or playing on our iconic landscapes.”

DNR’s wildfire mission

Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department, responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state, and tribal-owned forestlands in Washington. During fire season, DNR’s wildfire force includes more than 1,300 trained employees. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.

 

DNR Fire Danger Burn Ban in Effect STATE-WIDE

Outdoor burning off limits through Sept. 30
With the arrival of warm summer temperatures and below normal precipitation in western Washington, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has expanded its burn ban to cover the entire state.

The statewide burn ban will run from July 29 through Sept. 30. A burn ban for DNR-protected lands in eastern Washington has been in effect since July 2. The ban may be extended or shortened based on fire weather.

“The arrival of summer weather creates greater danger for wildfires, which are serious threats to safety, property and habitat. We have already seen a number of roadside fires start on both sides of the Cascades,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We must be cautious and vigilant to minimize the damage to our state.”
The ban means outdoor burning is prohibited on all forestlands that DNR protects from wildfire. Anyone caught violating the burn ban can face fines. Prescribed ecological burns approved by DNR will be allowed if expressly approved by Commissioner Goldmark.
Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal and other campgrounds are allowed.
DNR’s burn ban does not apply to federally-owned lands, such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges or other areas administered by federal agencies. Counties and local fire districts may have additional burn restrictions.
So far this year, DNR has had 408 wildfire starts throughout the state.
Fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, sky lanterns, or tracer ammunition, are illegal on all DNR-protected forestlands.
For a copy of the Commissioner’s Order, go to http://www.dnr.wa.gov/burn-bans.
DNR’s wildfire mission 
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department, responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state, and tribal-owned forestlands in Washington. During fire season, DNR’s wildfire force includes more than 1,300 trained employees. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.
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DNR Burn Ban Expires but some hazards remain

As a public safety precaution, Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) campgrounds at Leader Lake and Rock Creek will remain closed because of damage caused by the Okanogan Complex fire. The Rock Creek picnic area will also remain closed.

Burned-out stumps, fire-weakened trees and concealed pits are dangers that can put recreationists at risk if they venture into these closed campgrounds or other recently burned areas. Distressed and snagged tree areas are especially prone to falling in high winds. Extensive damage to camp structures will likely keep the Rock Creek campground and picnic area closed through next year’s camping season, according to DNR. Pending restoration, Leader Lake may open in early April of next year.

Even though conditions have improved, eastern Washington still has active wildfires. As a result, additional recreation site closures are in place and may change with little notice. Please check for closures before heading out.

Visitors must check at campground entrances or with campground hosts before starting a campfire. See more at: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/news/dnr-campground-closures-and-fire-restrictions-continue-ne-washington#sthash.0ZtyrpOp.dpuf