With temperatures expected to be above normal this weekend, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced an increase in fire danger rating on DNR-protected lands in southwest Washington.
“Fire season is here. These hot temperatures can rob our forests of moisture, setting the stage for more wildfires,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “While we can’t do anything to stop fires started by natural causes, we all play a role in preventing wildfires while enjoying the outdoors. Make sure to douse your campfires, don’t park in dry grass and tighten tow chains so they don’t drag on roadways.”
As of midnight last night, Thurston, Mason, Pierce, King, Kitsap, Skamania, Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific, and Wahkiakum counties in Western Washington have imposed a temporary ban on debris burning in these counties. At the same time, fire danger in all those counties increased from low to moderate. Other than the southern portions of Garfield, Columbia, and Asotin Counties (i.e. the Blue Mountains), all eastern Washington Counties are also at Moderate Fire Danger.
The forecasted combination of dry landscape and warm weather has fire officials concerned as the weekend approaches. Current conditions are drier than normal, and grasses, brush, and trees are unusually receptive to fire starts.
Debris burning is not allowed within any MODERATE fire danger county. Campfires may be allowed in approved designated campgrounds. Always check with local campground hosts before lighting a campfire.
Target shooting is currently allowed during the day on most DNR-managed lands in areas with an unobstructed, earth backstop that can safely stop all bullets.
Those who do target shooting are urged to pack out all shells, brass, paper, and other debris. Exploding targets and fireworks are not allowed on DNR-protected lands.
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, with more than 800 permanent DNR employees available and another 550 seasonal firefighters hired for the summer season.