Temporary burn restrictions in parts of Eastern Washington
Restrictions are prompted by uptick in wildfires caused by escaped debris burns amid warming temperatures and increased fire danger
Last updated 4/15/2021 at 7:27am
OLYMPIA - The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in cooperation with partner agencies, is implementing the following burn restrictions on DNR-protected lands in Eastern Washington. Most of these fires have been caused by people conducting debris burns and failing to completely extinguish their piles or not monitoring them appropriately with a water source available and ready to douse flames that grow large or escape the burn area.
Effective Friday, April 16, rule burning (small debris disposal fires) is not allowed in the following Fire Danger Rating Areas:
Upper Basin in Spokane, portions of Lincoln County north of Highway 2.
Warming temperatures have dried grasses, and grassy areas are now experiencing numerous wildfires started by outdoor debris burns. In the Northeast region, 100 wildfires have been started in 2021, including 46 since April 1. Of those 100 wildfires, 62 have been caused by people burning debris outdoors and failing to completely extinguish them. These escaped burns have burned over 217 acres this year.
This is expected to be temporary until "green up" begins, which should start after spring rains allow new grasses to grow.
The best way to be certain a burn pile fully extinguished is to dig into the ash and feel the area with the back of your hand to make sure there is no heat left. It is common for rain to create a cap over the ash, with heat remaining inside. Winds can weaken the cap and allow the pile to reignite. Campfires should be doused with water and stirred until all coals are completely extinguished and is cool to the touch.
Burning with a DNR permit and campfires are still allowed. A misdemeanor citation will be issued for people who do not follow the rules and conditions of their burn permits. If proven negligent, the offender will be billed for the fire suppression costs.
Daily updates on burn restrictions and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on the Fire Danger and Outdoor Burning risk map at https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/ and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels map https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/ifpl/.