FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2010
DNR warns of high fire danger
Recreational campfires have escaped
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking people to be extra careful with fire, tools and other activities when outdoors this weekend. With very high temperatures, low humidity and breezy conditions, grasses and other fuels will dry out quickly. Under these conditions, one spark can lead to a catastrophic wildfire.
“We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to follow burn restrictions and be careful with fire,” said Joe Shramek, manager of DNR’s Resource Protection Division. “Over the next few days, I’m especially concerned about the potential for wildfires in areas west of the Cascade Mountains because of the dry, easterly winds that are expected along with unusually hot weather.”
Shramek says he is especially concerned about recreational campfires. In recent weeks, DNR has responded to an unusually high number of unattended campfires that were incompletely extinguished. An extinguished campfire should be cool to the touch. DNR’s statewide burn ban on all forested public and private lands within its fire protection jurisdiction allows recreational fires in approved fire pits at designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds.
Many Washington counties have fire hazard levels rated “high” to “extreme” this weekend due to dry weather and low moisture levels in grasses, trees, and other vegetation. Check local conditions and restrictions by calling 1-800-323-BURN (2876) or go to: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger
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.
Additional sources of fire-related information include:
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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