Statewide fire prevention measures to protect life and property go into effect tomorrow (Tuesday April 15) and will remain in effect through mid-October.
Already the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has had 20 forest fires reported this year on lands protected by DNR.
The risk of wildfires can change rapidly during the spring when warmer, dryer weather occurs with increasing frequency.
The good news is 94% of the nearly 800 wildfires that burned on DNR-protected lands last year were contained to less than 10 acres in size. The bad news is 70 percent of the wildfires on DNR-protected lands in 2013 were human-caused.
Dry and unhealthy forests continue to be a fire hazard and will for many years. It takes only one spark to start a fire that can have catastrophic results. Prevention of human-caused wildfires can reduce the risk of expensive, disruptive wildfires that damage habitat for birds, fish, and wildlife. These fires destroy homes and threaten the safety of the public and firefighters who protect forests and communities at risk.
Washington’s “summer fire rules” are in effect April 15 through October 15. These rules apply to the 13 million acres of private and state forestlands protected from wildfire by DNR.
These regulations affect loggers, firewood cutters, land clearers, road builders, bulldozer operators, off-road motorcyclists, and others. During fire season, people using motorized equipment in the woods must have approved spark arresters and follow fire safety precautions. In addition, those working in the woods must have fire prevention and extinguishing equipment in good working order at the job site and workers trained in proper use.
The rules are intended to prevent forest fires and to extinguish small fires before they spread. Those same rules restrict cigarette smoking in forested areas to roads, gravels pits, or other clearings. They also prohibit lighting fireworks on forestland.
Daily fire risk ratings available on DNR’s website at www.dnr.wa.gov. Click on Fire Information to review regional precaution levels, a map of current shutdown zones, and a copy of DNR’s Industrial Fire Precaution Level Bulletin.
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.