OLYMPIA – The Washington state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced June 29 that there would be a statewide burn ban on all DNR-protected lands beginning July 1 and running through Sept. 30, 2013. The burn ban will apply to all forestlands in Washington under DNR fire protection, which does not include federally owned lands.
Each year, DNR strives to keep all wildfires under 10 acres. Already this year, DNR has had 57 wildfire starts simply from escaped outdoor burn piles, which have burned approximately 202 acres.
“The threat of wildfires from escaped outdoor burning is highest during the hot and dry days of summer,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said in a news release. “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.”
The ban will apply to all outdoor burning on DNR-protected forestlands with an exception for recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds. One other exception is for DNR-approved prescribed fires, implemented to enhance or restore fire-dependent ecosystems and forest health, when enhancement and restoration by prescribed fire can only be accomplished successfully during the period of time from July 1-Sept. 30, 2013.
The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and barbeques will continue to be allowed under the ban.
The burn ban will take precedence over and supersede all other burn bans currently in effect on DNR-protected forestlands. The burn ban does not apply to federal lands.