FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2010
Fire season snapshot: More lightning strikes but fewer fires
Weekend outlook for warmer and drier conditions raise fire risks statewide
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today released a snapshot of the number of wildfires and acres burned on state and private lands that the department protects. With the aid of favorable weather conditions, a strategy of fast initial attack on fires by DNR and its partners has kept wildfire damage lower than average despite a higher-than-usual number of lightning strikes this year. The number of lightning strikes in Washington State during June 2010 was the third-highest in the past 20 years.
So far, in the 2010 fire season, there have been 322 wildfires on the 12.7 million acres of public and private lands DNR protects from wildfire. In a typical year, 552 fires would have occurred by this point in the fire season, which began in April.
“We need people throughout Washington to continue focusing on fire safety as we get into the heart of fire season,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “The coming days and weeks could be our biggest test yet of 2010.”
The end of the July and first part of August often see an increase in wildfire outbreaks. Heat and dry conditions on both sides of the Cascades are expected to increase fire risk levels by this weekend.
In an effort to reduce human-caused wildfires, DNR issued a statewide burn ban on all DNR-protected lands, effective July 15, 2010, through September 30, 2010. The ban includes all forestlands in Washington except for federal lands. Campgrounds may have additional burn restrictions in place. Campers should check with their campground host before starting a campfire.
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.
Media Contact: Bob Redling, Senior Communications Manager, 360-902-1149, firstname.lastname@example.org
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