FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2011
Cause of Salmon Wildfire determined
DNR urges extreme caution this Labor Day Weekend
COLVILLE – Fire investigators with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have determined that the Salmon Fire near Omak was human-caused. Sparks from grinding equipment ignited dry brush.
The Salmon Fire has burned 1,800 acres in the Green Lake area five miles west of Omak, in Okanogan County, Washington. It started on Monday, August 29, at 5:30 p.m. and is currently 75 percent contained. Crews continue to work on fire containment lines; they are extinguishing and cooling an area 200 feet wide around the fire’s perimeter and 500 feet wide around all structures. Handheld infrared cameras are being used to detect sources of heat in those areas.
“Human-caused fires account for 64 percent of all wildland fires in the Northeast Region of the state,” said Loren Torgerson, DNR’s Northeast Region Manager. “In spite of cool weather conditions this year, grass and brush are extremely dry in eastern Washington. I urge people to use extreme caution with their vehicles and any use of fire during the upcoming Labor Day weekend.”
DNR statewide burn ban
In an effort to reduce preventable wildfires, DNR issued a statewide burn ban covering all DNR-protected lands, effective July 1, 2011, through September 30, 2011. 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 management may put additional restrictions in place, including a ban on campfires, depending on weather conditions.
DNR’s wildfire mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for 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 participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting. DNR also has wildfire prevention programs to help people create defensible space around their rural homes and communities, and restrict burning when there is higher wildfire risk.
Bryan Flint, Communications and Outreach Director, 360-870-3853, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Ripley & Sarah Foster, Public Information Officers, 360-791-6515
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