FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2014
Remember fire safety this Memorial Day Weekend
Be especially cautious with campfires
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging people to exercise caution with fire this Memorial Day Weekend. Wildfire season has started here in Washington, and DNR has already responded to more than 80 wildfires across the state.
Memorial Day is traditionally associated with the start of summer, and the holiday weekend typically brings more people outdoors. As the weather warms, vegetation will quickly dry out and become fuel for wildfires. Because a fire can start quickly and easily, DNR urges everyone to be careful this Memorial Day weekend.
Here are some steps to ensure a fire-safe holiday weekend:
- Only build campfires when and where authorized, and put them completely out. Use ample water, and stir until the coals are cool to the touch.
- Make sure all off-road vehicles have a properly functioning catalytic converter or approved spark arrester.
- Dispose of lit smoking materials appropriately.
- Remember that discharging fireworks is illegal on public lands.
In Washington, outdoor burning is a leading cause of wildfire ignitions. As we transition into late spring, Western Washington can experience strong east winds, and Eastern Washington can have fast-moving, dry cold-fronts. Be aware of rapidly changing weather conditions, especially if burning outdoors.
Before burning, call 1-800-323-BURN (2876) or log onto http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger.
Wildfire Prevention Resources
Visit the Fire Adapted Communities website (http://fireadapted.org/) to learn more about defensible space, fire-resilient building construction, and community wildfire prevention planning. Also visit the Firewise Program at www.firewise.org for more resources on preparing for wildfires.
DNR’s wildfire mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. DNR is the state's largest on-call fire department, with over 1,100 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, Communications Manager, 360-902-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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