DNR encourages the public to heed fire safety this Labor Day weekend
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DNR encourages the public to heed fire safety this Labor Day weekend 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                                                                         
August 26

DNR encourages the public to heed fire safety this Labor Day weekend
Illegal campfires and outdoor burning are still an issue

OLYMPIA – Even though cooler weather is forecast for some parts of the state, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) plans to keep a burn ban in place until September 30, 2010, for all 12.7 million acres of public and private lands it protects from wildfire. During the ban, campfires may be allowed, but only in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds. Campers are not allowed to build their own fire pits.

“Please help us stop wildfire before it starts by putting campfires completely out,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.

DNR suggests always checking to see if there are additional local restrictions on campfires before leaving home to go camping or hiking. Because campgrounds may choose to ban campfires, it’s best to check with the campground host before lighting a campfire. 

In areas where campfires are allowed, DNR asks the public to please follow these suggestions:

  • Use an existing fire ring, don’t create a new one.
  • Clear all vegetation away from the fire ring (remove all flammable materials, such as needles, leaves, sticks, etc.).
  • Keep your campfire small.
  • Keep plenty of water and a shovel nearby for throwing dirt on the fire if it gets out of control.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended!

When putting out your campfire, you should:

  • First, drown the campfire with water.
  • Next, mix the ashes and embers with soil. Scrape all partially-burned sticks and logs to make sure all the hot embers are off of them.
  • Stir the embers after they are covered with water and make sure everything is wet.
  • Feel the coals, embers, and any partially-burned wood with your hands. Everything (including the rock fire ring) should be cool to the touch.  Move the rocks, feel under them to make sure no embers are underneath. Make sure roots are not burning.
  • When you think you are done, take an extra minute and add more water.  Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. 
  • If you don’t have water, use moist dirt.  Be careful not to bury any hot or burning material as it can smolder and later start a wildfire.
  • Finally, check the entire campsite for possible sparks or embers, because it only takes one to start a forest fire.
  • If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.

Remember, a little extra care takes only a few minutes of your time, and it could prevent a wildfire. 

Get updates online
Daily updates on burn restrictions and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels by zone are available on DNR’s website at www.dnr.wa.gov or by calling 1-800-323-BURN. The direct link to a map of all IFPL zones in Washington State is: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/ifpl/IFPL.aspx

DNR statewide burn ban
In an effort to reduce preventable wildfires, DNR issued a statewide burn ban covering all DNR-protected lands, effective July 15, 2010, through September 30, 2010. The ban includes all forestlands in Washington except for federal lands. During the ban, designated campgrounds may allow campfires in approved fire pits. DNR or the campground may put additional restrictions in place, including a ban on campfires, depending on weather conditions.

Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Community Outreach and Environmental Education, 360-902-1122, janet.pearce@dnr.wa.gov  

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