FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2010
Prevention and enforcement patrols out for 4th of July
Watching for illegal fireworks activity
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced fire prevention and law enforcement efforts are planned this weekend to stop potential fires in high-risk areas around Spokane. The key, high-risk locations include Ford, Tum Tum, Suncrest, Nine Mile, and Liberty Lake.
In southern Stevens County, a historical problem area on the Fourth of July is Highway 291, from Tum Tum to Ford near Lake Spokane (Long Lake). Steep slopes, dry fuels, and heavy public use next to the road create a potentially hazardous combination. Over the last three years, fire prevention and law enforcement efforts have significantly reduced fire ignitions in this area. The primary preventive measure is a parking closure along the highway and frequent law enforcement patrols.
Other focus areas include the main routes to Spokane. Prevention and enforcement staff will be watching for the illegal use of fireworks. All commercial fireworks are illegal within Spokane County. Large signs have been posted along these routes to remind county residents of this fact. To help deter the illegal use of fireworks, fines in Spokane County have been increased to $513.00.
State law prohibits the lighting of fireworks on or onto all DNR-protected land in the state, not just in Spokane County. Law enforcement officers have been instructed to seize illegal fireworks and take enforcement action with violators. In addition, violators who start fires are subject to paying fire suppression costs.
News media are invited to visit some of the high-risk areas. Members of the fire prevention and law enforcement teams will be available for interviews throughout the Fourth of July weekend.
DNR’s wildfire mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 12.7 million acres of private, state, and tribal-owned forestlands in Washington. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department. During fire season, this includes more than 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 375 seasonal workers. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.
Janet Pearce, Communications and Outreach, 360-902-1122, email@example.com
Guy Gifford, DNR Northeast Region, 509-990-6218, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred Wefer, Fire Prevention Team Leader, 360-391-0392
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