Officials Urge Wildfire Awareness
Warmer temperatures and expected drying conditions increase chance of wildfires Before leaving for weekend activities, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds the public to be aware of any fire restrictions in place around the state due to the rising fire danger. Because the weather is warming up and vegetation is drying out, fires can start and spread quickly.
“Due to wildfire-friendly weather conditions, it is important to pay special attention to being careful with campfires and other outdoor activities while enjoying your July 4 holiday weekend,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.
So far this year, there have been more than 150 wildfires on the public and private lands DNR protects from wildfire.
Not surprisingly, DNR records show wildfires occur more on Saturday and Sunday afternoons when forest visits increase with additional recreationists and woodcutters. Unattended campfires, faulty vehicle or motorcycle mufflers, careless disposal of cigarettes, and reckless outdoor burning also boost the Fourth of July weekend forest fire potential.
Here are some helpful tips to help keep this a fun and enjoyable weekend:
- 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;
- Be sure recreational vehicles have operating spark arresters;
- 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.
For those staying closer to home, DNR is encouraging everyone to focus on “Knowing Your Role” when it comes to preparing communities for wildfire. Visit fireadapted.org to learn more about defensible space, fire-resilient building construction, community wildfire prevention planning, the Firewise Program, and Ready, Set, Go!
Learn to protect your home and property by taking the following actions:
- Do an exterior home inspection;
- Remove moss and needles from the roof and rain gutters;
- Clear vegetation and flammable materials from around propane tanks;
- Stack firewood at least 30 feet from the house;
- Keep decorative bark and railroad ties away from the foundation—these types of materials provide great places for sparks to smolder;
- Trim trees to ten feet off the ground for tall trees and adjust for shorter trees; this helps reduce fuels that aid in fire traveling;
- Maintain defensible space of at least 30 feet around the home. Firefighters can use this area to defend homes during a wildfire event.