FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2011
Public encouraged to heed fire safety this Labor Day weekend
County burn risk map online and radio PSA’s available
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging campers, recreationists, woods workers, and other forest visitors to be especially careful with fire this weekend. DNR has a burn ban in place until September 30, 2011, 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.
“Eighty-five percent of Washington’s wildfires are human-caused. Please help us stop wildfires before they start,” 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 should be cool to the touch.
- 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; 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.
For daily updates on burn restrictions, call 1-800-323-BURN or visit DNR’s webpage showing fire danger and burning restrictions by county: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx.
**Attention Radio Editors: Download audio Public Service Announcements on wildfire prevention from Commissioner Goldmark. Scripts also are available.
PSA for 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.
Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Community Outreach and Education, 360-902-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org
# # #