The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced there will be a statewide burn ban on all DNR-protected lands July 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013. The burn ban will apply to all forestlands in Washington under DNR fire protection, which does not include federally owned lands.
Each year, DNR strives to keep all wildfires under 10 acres. Already this year, DNR has had 57 wildfire starts simply from escaped outdoor burn piles, which have burned approximately 202 acres.
“The threat of wildfires from escaped outdoor burning is highest during the hot and dry days of summer,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “Wildfires are serious threats to public safety, private property, and wildlife habitat. We must take prudent steps to prevent wildfires and minimize the large expenditures of public resources spent to fight them.”
The ban will apply to all outdoor burning on DNR-protected forestlands with the following exceptions:
1. Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds, and
2. DNR-approved prescribed fires, implemented to enhance or restore fire-dependent ecosystems and forest health, when enhancement and restoration by prescribed fire can only be accomplished successfully during the period of time from July 1, 2013, through September 30, 2013.
The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and barbeques will continue to be allowed under the ban.
When implemented, the burn ban will take precedence over and supersede all other burn bans currently in effect on DNR-protected forestlands. The burn ban does not apply to federal lands.
DNR’s wildfire mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, 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 1,000 employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes more than 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 400 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties. Additionally, adult offenders from the Department of Corrections and juvenile offenders from the Department of Social and Health Services-Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration support firefighting efforts through DNR’s Correctional Camps Program. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.