The Odessa Record -

Franz urges wildfire caution ahead of heat wave

 


OLYMPIA – With temperatures expected to be well above normal soon, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources is urging everyone to be cautious and vigilant when playing or working outdoors.

Fire weather experts at the Department are predicting a high pressure system that will produce temperatures well above normal across Washington. The heat wave may produce temperatures in excess of 90 degrees on both sides of the Cascades. Such temperatures would dry grasses and timber ahead of potential high winds and thunderstorms toward the end of the week.

“Fire season is here. These hot temperatures can rob our forests of moisture, setting the stage for more wildfires,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “While we can’t do anything to stop lightning from starting fires, we all need to take special care not to spark new wildfires. Make sure to douse your campfires, don’t park in dry grass and tighten tow chains so they don’t drag on roadways.”

Four of every five wildfires in Washington are started by human activities.

The Department increased burn restrictions in parts of eastern Washington earlier in the week. Daily updates on burn restrictions are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on the Fire Danger and Outdoor Burning risk map at fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/ and the Industrial Fire Precaution Levels map at dnr.wa.gov/ifpl.

The Department has one of the state’s top wildland firefighting teams ready for deployment. Crews, fire engines, helicopters and other firefighting aircraft will be staged around the state to provide quick response as new fires develop.

Camping and recreating

Check with local campground hosts to make sure they allow campfires:

· Only build campfires where authorized. Put them completely out before leaving camp, even for a few minutes. Use plenty of water and stir until the coals are cold to the touch.

· Dispose of lit smoking materials appropriately.

· Fireworks, incendiary ammunition and exploding targets are illegal on public lands, including all state forests.

Vehicles and towing

· Be sure chains and other metal parts aren’t dragging from your vehicle or trailer. They can throw sparks and start fires.

· Make sure all off-road vehicles have a properly functioning and approved spark arrester.

· Be careful driving through or parking on dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes can start the grass on fire. You may not even notice the fire until it’s too late.

· Check tire pressure and condition. Driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks.

· Have brakes serviced regularly to prevent brake pads wearing too thin. Metal on metal can spark or drop pieces of hot brake pad.

No drone zone

Please help keep firefighters safe by not flying drones around wildfires. Learn more about the unmanned aircraft systems (drones) and their interference with wildfire suppression efforts from the National Interagency Fire Center. #IfYouFlyWeCant

Those who spot new wildfires are urged to call 911 immediately.

The wildfire mission

Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the Department of Natural Resources is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. The Department is the state’s largest on-call fire department, with more than 800 permanent employees available and another 550 seasonal firefighters hired for the summer season.

 

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