FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2011
State employees receive national award for burn barrel exchange program
Smokey Bear honors wildfire prevention project
OLYMPIA – Two state employees received national recognition for a statewide wildfire prevention project. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildfire Prevention Program Manager, Sandy Williams, and the Department of Ecology Air Quality Program Environmental Planner, Julie Oliver, received the National Bronze Smokey Bear award.
The National Smokey Bear awards are presented annually by the Ad Council, the National Association of State Foresters, and the U. S. Forest Service to individuals for sustained excellence in wildland fire prevention.
The Bronze Award recognizes performance of statewide significance. Sandy Williams and Julie Oliver collaborated to implement a burn barrel exchange program. Outdoor burning has been a leading cause for wildfire starts in the Pacific Northwest and a significant source of air quality problems. The use of burn barrels has been illegal in Washington for many years. This program encourages Washington residents to turn in their burn barrels and receive a free compost bin in exchange. For the last two years, Sandy and Julie have worked to deliver this program targeting high-risk counties for escaped debris burning.
The exchange program brought in more than 770 illegal burn barrels from nine counties and one tribe over two years.
“Sandy and Julie have both provided many years of exceptional service to the cause of forest fire prevention and clean air in Washington State,” said State Forester Aaron Everett with DNR. “Their leadership has brought forward more awareness to wildfire prevention and made a measurable impact in reducing the number wildfires in Washington.”
For more information on Smokey Bear, log on to www.smokeybear.com.
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 1,000 employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes over 700 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 Environmental Education,
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