The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges hunters to be aware that fire danger is still high in some areas of Washington. With more and more people recreating and using state-managed forests statewide, hunters are asked to take extra care on all forested lands , as well as lands that could carry fire to forested areas protected by DNR.
Recently, a Seattle Times article reported that the gigantic wildfire in and around Yosemite National Park was caused by an illegal campfire set by a hunter. Over the past 5 years, an average of 35 wildland fires in the fall months were determined to have been caused by campfires not properly extinguished in the woods.
Campfires and warming fires are not allowed in most areas. Statewide restrictions on fires are still in effect through the end of September. Recreational fires are only allowed in designated state, county, municipal, or other campgrounds on forestlands under DNR fire protection. Even in official campgrounds where fires are allowed, be sure they are cool to the touch before leaving them. The variable weather patterns in the autumn can mean that coals that are left hot when it is raining or misty could smolder until the weather becomes hot and dry again, and winds can transport embers.
Hunting activities on state trust lands are coordinated with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW). Licenses, punch cards and hunting regulations are available from WDFW offices. Hunting information and regulations are available through the WDFW website or by calling 360-902-2464. For DNR general information, call 1-800-527-3305.
Motorists are being asked to help reduce the number of human-caused wildfires by driving only on improved roads. Driving motorized vehicles across dry grass may start a fire. Ensure that ATVs have spark arresters. The public is also being cautioned against smoking while traveling through wildland areas, whether on foot, horseback or on an ATV. Smokers should always use caution and use the car’s ashtray when smoking in automobiles.
DNR’s wildfire mission
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 1,000 employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes over 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 400 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties. Additionally, Department of Corrections’ adult offenders and Department of Social and Health Services-Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration juvenile offenders participate in the DNR correctional camps program. DNR also participates in Washington's coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.
September 13, 2013/DNR Press Release