FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2014
DNR urges safety this Fourth of July weekend
Warmer and dryer conditions increase chance of wildfires
OLYMPIA – As people plan outdoor activities around the Fourth of July weekend, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging the public to be aware of fire restrictions in place around the state due to rising fire danger. Because the weather is warming up and vegetation is quickly drying out, fires can start and spread quickly.
Last year, fireworks caused 27 wildfires on the public and private lands DNR protects from wildfire.
DNR records show wildfires occur more on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, when more people visit DNR-protected lands. Unattended campfires, faulty vehicle or motorcycle mufflers, careless disposal of cigarettes, and reckless outdoor burning also boost the Fourth of July weekend’s forest fire potential.
Fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, are prohibited year-round on public lands managed by DNR. For all other forestlands throughout the state, incendiary devices are prohibited from April 15 and October 15, regardless of who owns or manages the forestland.
Fire safety tips
- Before discharging fireworks, check to see if they are allowed in that location. It is illegal to discharge fireworks on state-protected private and public lands;
- 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 the area;
- Be sure recreational vehicles have operating spark arresters.
For those staying closer to home, DNR encourages everyone to focus on “Knowing Your Role” when it comes to preparing your community for wildfire. Visit http://fireadapted.org/ to learn more about defensible space, fire-resilient building construction, community wildfire prevention planning, the Firewise Program, and Ready, Set, Go!
Stay connected during wildfire season
** Attention Radio Editors: Download DNR’s audio public service announcements on wildfire prevention from Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. Scripts also are available.
Fourth of July Holiday PSA – 15 seconds:
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 more than 1,100 employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes more than 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 400 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties. Additionally, adult offenders from the Department of Corrections and juvenile offenders from the Department of Social and Health Services-Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration support firefighting efforts through DNR’s 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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