Wildfire season has begun

  • Thu Apr 20th, 2017 1:52pm
  • News

Prevention measures to protect life and property are in effect April 15-Oct. 15 on 13 million acres of DNR-protected lands

Even with this wet, rainy spring, wildfire season officially begins Saturday, April 15, as specified by state law.

“All this snow and rain may delay our fire season, but our forests always face the threat of wildfire,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “We’re going to do everything we can to be ready for fire season and I encourage all our neighbors to do the same.”

Property owners can reduce fire risk to their homes and lands by keeping dead vegetation off roofs and away from buildings. The Firewise program explains how to use these techniques and offers incentives to communities who follow Firewise principles.

Prediction for this summer’s weather is available from the National Weather Service. While mountain basins currently have an above average snowpack, the risk of wildfires can change rapidly during spring’s warmer, drier weather. Among other things, that means people working in the woods or clearing land need to have fire prevention equipment on hand.

Last year, more than 16,400 acres of DNR-protected lands were consumed by 807 wildfires. Out of 807 wildfires, 90 percent were human-caused.

Washington’s

summer fire rules

Washington’s “summer fire rules” are in effect April 15-Oct. 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, heavy equipment 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 to the forested lands. Those same rules restrict cigarette smoking in forested areas on roads, gravels pits or other clearings. They also prohibit lighting fireworks on forestland.