FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2012
Fire season has started in Washington State
Fire risk rises significantly as cold-wet spring turns to hot summer
OLYMPIA – Despite the cold and wet start to summer, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is warning that hot, dry weather and threat of thunderstorms have brought on Washington’s fire season. In 2011, 90 percent of fires were human-caused.
Much of eastern Washington is experiencing hot, dry weather conditions and is under a Red Flag Warning. Abundant lightning is expected late this afternoon in both western and eastern Washington, continuing through Monday evening. Increased lighting risk mixed with dry fuels can lead to multiple fire starts and catastrophic wildfire.
DNR fire crews are prepared and ready to respond to reported fires. Helicopters are available and engine crews have been pre-positioned for quick response. DNR’s goal and focus is on keeping fires less than ten acres, which greatly reduces the risk and cost of large uncontrolled fires.
Fires currently burning
- Navarre Fire (Wenatchee-Okanogan Forest): 675 acres. Weather conditions continue to be hot and dry with predictions for temperatures to reach triple digits this afternoon. Motorists traveling on US Highway 97A need to use caution as aircraft dip water from the Columbia River. DNR is asking people to not park along the highway or impede firefighting apparatus working in the area.
- Uptanum Fire (Wenas Wildlife Area): 225 acres, grass and sage brush, 90 percent contained. On Saturday, one firefighter was transported to a local hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion. The firefighter was treated and released.
Get updates online
Resources of fire-related information include:
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, 2012, through September 30, 2012. 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 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.
Bryan Flint, Communications and Outreach Director, 360-902-1023, firstname.lastname@example.org
Janet Pearce, Community Outreach and Education, 360-902-1122, email@example.com
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