As outdoor enthusiasts head out this Fourth of July weekend, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) land managers remind them to be careful with fire on wildlife lands.
“Our cold, wet spring may have some thinking that fire danger is low,” said WDFW lands manager Paul Dahmer, “but those conditions actually made for extraordinarily lush vegetation that is now drying out and becoming fuel for wildfire.”
Restrictions on campfires and prohibitions on fireworks are in place on 900,000 acres of wildlife areas and water-access sites managed by WDFW. Where campfires are allowed, they usually must be contained in metal fire rings and kept to less than three feet in height and diameter. Specific rules by location can be found at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/public_conduct_rules.
People cause 85 percent of Washington’s wildfires, according to wildfire experts at the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Obeying fire restrictions and using caution and common sense are the most important steps people can take to preserve public recreation lands and wildlife habitat.
Anyone recreating outdoors should follow DNR’s campfire safety tips:
- Never start a campfire when wind is strong or local fire danger is high
- Use a screen over and around a campfire to minimize sparks
- Keep fires under three feet high and wide
- Keep five gallons of water and a shovel nearby
- Never leave fires unattended
- Extinguish a fire by drowning it thoroughly with water, stirring until cold, and then drowning it again
Local fire-danger levels and burn-ban information is available at http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx.
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire call 1(800) 562-6010 or 911.