FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2012
Landowner cooperation requested during wildfire season
Firefighters ready as the summer fire season officially starts
OLYMPIA – With the start of fire season, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is requesting assistance from the public when it comes time to fight wildfires. Landowners can provide good directions, assist in opening gates, and ensure roads are opened. Quick and unhindered access for firefighters may be the difference between a small smoldering campfire and a large catastrophic wildfire.
The job of DNR firefighters and forest wardens is to protect lives, resources and property from wildland fires on private and state-owned forestland (RCW 76.04.015). To minimize fire cost and damage, DNR firefighters try to keep fires as small as possible. In order to do this, they need to gain access to fires quickly.
DNR firefighters and forest wardens are in service and already actively responding to reports of wildfire. Landowners may see DNR firefighters in their area or on their property. This often involves crossing private and public land with firefighting equipment such as trucks, fire engines, water tenders, and bulldozers. This equipment is used to deliver water and build control lines to stop the spread of fire. Once on scene, DNR firefighters try to quickly contain the fire; then, forest wardens investigate the origin and cause. The investigation of fire is critical in order to prevent future fires and to reimburse the state for fires that are caused by negligence.
DNR’s burn ban in effect
Landowners are also requested to observe DNR’s summer burn ban that is in place for all DNR-protected lands within the State of Washington. The burn ban took effect on July 1 and will last until September 30, 2012. The ban applies to all outdoor burning on DNR-protected forestlands with the following exceptions:
- Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds, and
- DNR-approved prescribed fires, implemented to enhance or restore fire-dependent ecosystems and forest health, when enhancement and restoration by prescribed fire can only be accomplished successfully during the period of time from July 1, 2012, through September 30, 2012.
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 400 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties. Additionally, Department of Corrections’ adult offenders and Department of Social and Health Services-Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration juvenile offenders participate in the DNR Correctional Camps Program. DNR also participates in Washington's coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.
Janet Pearce, Communications and Outreach, 360-902-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chuck Johnson, DNR’s Northeast Region, 509-684-7474, email@example.com
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