FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2011
Wildfire season officially begins April 15th
Prevention measures to protect life and property are in effect April 15 through October 15 on 12.7 million acres of DNR-protected lands
OLYMPIA – Regardless of the snow and rain, wildfire season officially begins April 15, as specified by state law. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to remind people that dry and unhealthy forests continue to be a fire hazard. These fires can destroy homes and threaten the safety of the public and the firefighters who protect forests and communities.
Nine forest fires have already been reported this year on lands protected by DNR. Last year, there were a total of 540 fires that burned approximately 25,000 acres. Ninety-five percent of the wildfires that burned on DNR-protected lands in 2010 were contained to less than 10 acres in size.
DNR wants to remind people that before vegetation dries out, now is the time to take appropriate action to prevent wildfires and protect life and property in the event of wildfire.
Washington’s summer fire rules
Washington’s “summer fire rules” are in effect April 15 through October 15. These rules apply to the 12.7 million acres of private and state forestlands protected from wildfire by DNR.
These regulations affect loggers, firewood cutters, land clearers, road builders, bulldozer operators, off-road motorcyclists, and others. During fire season, people using motorized equipment in the woods must have approved spark arresters and follow fire safety precautions. In addition, those working in the woods must have fire prevention and extinguishing equipment at the job site, in good working order, with staff trained in its proper use.
The rules are intended to prevent forest fires and to extinguish small fires before they spread. Those same rules restrict cigarette smoking in forested areas to roads, gravels pits, or other clearings. They also prohibit lighting fireworks on forestland.
Stay connected during wildfire season
Daily fire risk ratings available by phone and Internet
Industrial Fire Precaution Levels (IFPL) may change daily and classify varying levels of fire danger in different parts of the state. People who work in the woods must observe the IFPL. More information is available from the following sources:
- DNR’s website at http://www.dnr.wa.gov . Click on Fire & Burning Regulations to review regional precaution levels, a map of current shutdown zones, and a copy of DNR’s Industrial Fire Precaution Level Bulletin.
- DNR’s toll-free business line at 1-800-527-3305 plays a message identifying daily industrial fire precaution levels, which are listed by geographical region. The hearing impaired can phone Telephone Device for the Deaf at 1-800-833-6388.
- DNR email at RPD@dnr.wa.gov . Ask questions or request a copy of DNR’s Industrial Fire Precaution Level Bulletin or additional information on safe outdoor burning of forest debris and safe recreational campfire tips.
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. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department, with over a thousand employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes over seven hundred DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 375 seasonal workers. Additionally, Department of Correction inmates participate in the DNR Correctional Camps Program. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.
Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Community Outreach and Education, 360-902-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org
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