Expanded Burn Restrictions, Fire Danger Ratings Increase in Areas of Eastern Washington
April 21, 2021
Unseasonable dry fuels, warm temps increase fire danger
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in cooperation with partner agencies, is adding new burn restrictions on DNR-protected lands in eastern Washington. The new restrictions are a response to increasing fire danger and an increase in fires caused by people burning debris outdoors.
Warming temperatures have dried grasses, and grassy areas are more receptive to even a single spark, which can cause a wildfire. In the Northeast region, 171 wildfires have been started in 2021, including 117 since April 1. Most have been caused by people burning debris outdoors.
The following additional restrictions will be implemented in parts of the Northeast Region, effective Thursday, April 22, 2021:
- Campfires are NOT allowed except in approved designated campgrounds in the following Fire Danger Rating Areas: Foothills, Highlands and Upper Basin in Spokane, and portions of Lincoln County north of Hwy. 2.
- Permit burning (written burn permits issued by DNR) is NOT allowed in the following Fire Danger Rating Areas: Foothills, and Upper Basin in Spokane, and portions of Lincoln County north of Hwy.
- Rule burns are still NOT allowed in the following Fire Danger Rating Areas: Foothills, Highlands and Upper Basin in Spokane, and portions of Lincoln County north of Hwy. 2.
Effective Thursday, April 22, 2021
- Fire Danger will increase from low to moderate in the following Fire Danger Rating Areas: Foothills, Highlands, Lower Basin and Upper Basin.
- Fire Danger will remain low in the following Fire Danger Rating Areas: Chelan, Kaniksu, Lower Yakima, Methow, Upper Yakima and Valley.
Check to find your Fire Danger Rating Area at https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/
These changes are expected to be temporary until “green up” begins, which should start after spring rains allow new grasses to grow.
The best way to be certain a burn pile fully extinguished is to dig into the ash and feel the area with the back of your hand to make sure there is no heat left. It is common for rain to create a cap over the ash, with heat remaining inside. Winds can weaken the cap and allow the pile to reignite. Campfires should be doused with water and stirred until all coals are completely extinguished and is cool to the touch.
A misdemeanor citation will be issued to those who do not comply with a DNR burn restriction. A misdemeanor citation will also be issued for people who do not follow the rules and conditions of their burn permits. If proven negligent, the offender will be billed for the fire suppression costs.
Daily updates on burn restrictions and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on the Fire Danger and Outdoor Burning risk map at https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/ and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels map https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/ifpl/.