FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2009
Gov. Gregoire, Commissioner Goldmark urge fire safety over holiday weekend
Officials also complete annual firefighter safety tests
OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire and Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark today successfully completed firefighter safety tests. By doing so, they will be able to more safely travel to the fire line in the unfortunate event of a large wildfire. Their effort highlights the need to be safe and prepared in the face of extremely dry fire conditions throughout the state.
“I urge all Washingtonians to be vigilant and exercise caution while enjoying our beautiful state,” Gregoire said. “Please take your time on our roadways. Also take steps to prevent fires to keep our first responders safe.”
This year, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has seen almost 300 wildfire incidents within its jurisdiction alone. That total is well above average.
“As a rancher and volunteer firefighter for 35 years, I’ve seen the dangers and destruction of wildfire firsthand,” Goldmark said. “I encourage people to have an enjoyable holiday with their family, and to be safe around campfires and fireworks.”
The holiday weekend will also bring out heavy traffic, so state officials encourage motorists to plan ahead and leave some extra time to get to destinations.
“‘Safe and sane’ applies to both fireworks and driving,” said State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “I’d like to celebrate the fifth of July by knowing we didn’t have any tragedies on the fourth. I’ve directed state troopers to focus enforcement on the violations we know cause most fatalities: speed, DUI and failure to wear a seat belt.”
Fire prevention tips
- Know before you go – learn about fire restrictions in your destination.
- If a campfire is allowed, keep a shovel and water close at hand when your campfire is going. Before you leave, use water to drown the campfire and use a shovel to stir the water and coals to cool down the fire. Repeat as needed.
- Never park vehicles, including recreational vehicles, on dry vegetation. The exhaust system can get hot and start a fire.
- Dispose of lit smoking materials only in ashtrays or in a manner to ensure they will not ignite another source, such as a tin cup of water.
- Fireworks are illegal on public lands.
- Use only approved fireworks and keep water on hand to extinguish fireworks.
- Fireworks may be illegal in your area, so check with local officials first.
Media Contact: Aaron Toso, DNR, Director of Communications & Outreach, 360-902-1023, firstname.lastname@example.org
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