FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2012
DNR firefighters gain control of 13 fires that started Monday
Over 6,000 lightning strikes blanket the state
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) responded to fires brought on by lightning and hot, dry weather conditions on July 8 and 9. Of the 13 fires that started Monday, all have been contained due to the work of firefighters across central Washington.
There were 6,208 lightning strikes in a 24-hour period on July 9. Small, smoldering fires may still result from lightning strikes. Dry conditions and increased winds can fan the flames, creating delayed but very real fire danger. DNR crews, working with other agencies, are ready to respond to new fires as they are discovered over the next couple of days.
As thunderstorms decrease, the potential for human-caused wildfires are a continuing concern. Continued heat and dry conditions are expected on both sides of the Cascades. Fire officials warn that the entire state will be warm and dry into next week. This year, DNR has responded to 335 fires, which have burned approximately 2,000 acres.
Fire safety tips
DNR urges caution when playing and working outside. Wildfires, even those that do not damage structures or cause evacuations, are costly to residents and taxpayer resources.
- Be sure recreational vehicles have operating spark arresters;
- Do not park any vehicles in dry, grassy areas, as the heat from exhaust systems can ignite the dry grass;
- Never leave a campfire unattended, and be sure it is completely out before leaving;
- Before burning, check local conditions and restrictions by calling 1-800-323-BURN (2876) or going to http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger
- Do an exterior home inspection;
- Remove moss and needles from the roof and rain gutters;
- Clear vegetation and flammable materials from around propane tanks;
- Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from the house;
- Keep decorative bark and railroad ties away from the foundation—these types of materials provide great places for sparks to smolder;
- Trim tree branches to ten feet off the ground for tall trees and adjust for shorter trees; this helps reduce fuels that aid in fire traveling;
- Maintain defensible space around the home, which is the large, open area firefighters use to defend homes during a wildfire event. http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/rp_prevent_preparehomefire.pdf
Statewide burn ban
In an effort to reduce human-caused wildfires, DNR issued a statewide burn ban on all DNR-protected lands, effective July 1, 2012, through September 30, 2012. The ban includes all forestlands in Washington except for federal lands. Campgrounds may have additional burn restrictions in place. Campers should check with their campground host before starting a campfire.
Get updates online
Resources for fire-related information include:
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.
Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Community Outreach and Education, 360-902-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org
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