FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2009
DNR encourages landowners to check winter’s forest debris piles
OLYMPIA – Wildfire prevention experts with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are encouraging landowners to take time this weekend to check forest debris piles that may still be smoldering after being burned earlier this winter or spring.
“Each summer, we respond to debris burn piles that were not put out effectively,” said Loren Torgerson, DNR Northeast Region Manager. “This year, more than 41 escaped forest debris fires have burned over 140 acres in the northeast region of our state.”
‘Hold over’ fires are forest debris fires that escaped months after they were lit. Failure to extinguish hold over fires is the second leading cause of why debris fires escape, representing over 20 percent of escaped debris fires in Northeast region. To prevent hold over fires, Guy Gifford (DNR’s Northeast Region Fire Prevention Forester) recommends that landowners check the piles that burned this past winter and spring. To insure the fire is out, use a shovel and dig into the pile in several different spots to feel if there is any heat remaining.
To prevent forest debris piles from escaping, remember to create a ‘fire trail’ around the fire by removing material all the way down to mineral soil around the burn pile. Also, do not leave the pile unattended.
Washington residents are reminded, before they burn to call 1-800-323-BURN to check on current burning 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 tribal, private, and state-owned forestlands. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department, with hundreds of people trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes several hundred DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency, about 375 seasonal workers, and about 600 Department of Correction inmates. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.
Media Contact: Guy Gifford, DNR NE Region, 509-990-6218, firstname.lastname@example.org
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