DNR bans outdoor burning east of the Cascades

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today instituted a burn ban on DNR-protected lands in eastern Washington effective Saturday, July 2.

The ban applies to all outdoor burning on state forests, state parks and forestlands under DNR fire protection east of the crest of the Cascade Mountains. It does not include federally owned lands such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges or other areas administered by federal agencies. Counties and local fire districts may have additional burn restrictions.

“Given the enormity of the last two fire seasons, it’s appropriate to be cautious,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “This burn ban will help protect people, forests and property.”

The last two wildfire seasons have been the state’s worst ever. In 2014, the Carlton Complex fire burned more than 250,000 acres, the largest wildfire in state history. In 2015, more than a million acres burned across the state, the single worst wildfire year ever in Washington history.

In 2016 so far, there have been 234 wildfire starts throughout the state, 202 of them caused by humans.

In effect through September

The DNR burn ban is scheduled to remain in effect through Sept. 30. It may be extended or shortened based on fire weather. Outdoor burning may also be eventually banned in western Washington as conditions warrant.

Fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, sky lanterns, or tracer ammunition, are illegal on all DNR-protected forestlands.

Fires powered by gas stoves and charcoal briquettes are allowed in designated fire pits within state, county, municipal and other campgrounds.

DNR recently completed three major firefighter training sessions across the state, which readied more than 1,100 local, tribal, state and federal firefighters for the upcoming summer wildfire season.

NE fire danger rating rises

Also Thursday, DNR increased the fire danger rating from “moderate” to “high” in parts of northeast Washington. Effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 2, the fire danger rating will increase to high in:

· Spokane County,
· Lincoln County, north of State Highway 2, and
· Stevens County Fire Districts 1 and 2

Fire danger remains ‘moderate’ in, Okanogan, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties, and Stevens County outside of Fire Districts 1 and 2.

*This is a news release from the Washington state Department of Natural Resources.