OLYMPIA – With hot and dry weather coming this week, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking the public to help prevent wildfires.
“Our firefighters are concerned that we may see more wildfires this week due to rising temperatures and higher wind speeds,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “With 71 percent of our state experiencing drought effects, and no rain forecasted, we all need to be extremely cautious when outdoors.”
This Wednesday, temperatures on the west side of the state will be 20 to 30 degrees above normal and temperatures near 100 for many places on the east of the Cascades.
Increasing winds will accompany the hot, dry weather, which can wreak havoc on any tiny spark. The amount of rain many areas received over the weekend creates taller grasses, which will dry out at an accelerated pace over the week that will serve as fuel for any fire that starts.
Already this year, DNR has responded to 478 fire calls. Snowpack is lower than average and is melting faster and earlier.
Safety tips for preventing wildfires (http://www.dnr.wa.gov/WildfirePrevention)
Here are some steps to ensure fire-safety:
- Only build campfires when and where authorized, and put them completely out.
- Make sure all off-road vehicles have a properly functioning catalytic converter or approved spark arrester.
- Dispose of lit smoking materials appropriately.
- Remember that discharging fireworks or use of incendiary ammunition or exploding targets is illegal on public lands.
Stay connected during wildfire season
- DNR’s Fire Twitter: http://twitter.com/waDNR_fire
- Incident Information System (InciWeb): http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
Anyone who spots a wildfire should call 911 as soon as possible to report it.
DNR’s wildfire mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, 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 and participates in Washington's coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.