A statewide summer burn ban goes into effect July 1 and lasts until September 30.
The ban applies to all forestlands in Washington under Department of Natural Resources protection. It does not include federally owned land.
This year the DNR has already had 57 wildfires that have escaped from outdoor burn piles have burned approximately 202 acres.
"The threat of wildfires from escaped outdoor burning is highest during the hot and dry days of summer," said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. "Wildfires are serious threats to public safety, private property, and wildlife habitat. We must take prudent steps to prevent wildfires and minimize the large expenditures of public resources spent to fight them."
There are two exceptions:
1. Recreational fires are allowed in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds
2. DNR-approved prescribed fires, implemented to enhance or restore fire-dependent ecosystems and forest health that can be done successfully during the ban period
The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and barbeques is allowed under the ban.
In Washington, 85 percent of fires are caused by humans, so the DNR also asks the public to know their role in preparing for a wildfire.
People living in or near the woods, those who burn debris, occasional campers, hunters, and hikers, and those who use fireworks should all work to prevent forest fires.
Wildfire prevention tips:
- Never walk away from a smoldering campfire. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave
- Only dispose of smoking materials in ashtrays so that they will not ignite
- Never park vehicles, including recreational vehicles, on dry vegetation. The exhaust system can get hot enough to start a fire
- Make your home more resistant to wildfire if you live in or near the woods. Use non-flammable materials on your roof and deck
- Beauty bark will smolder; use it away from the home
- Update landscape to put in firebreaks, such concrete or brick or gravel walkways, and water features, such as a pond.
Here are a few other tips for make your home less vulnerable to fire.