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‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ conditions spur red flag for wildfire hazards west of the Cascades
In light of the prolonged stretch of unusually dry weather in Western Washington since July and extreme risk of wildfire, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is extending the statewide burn ban through October 15, 2012. The ban on outdoor burning applies to all DNR-protected public, private and tribal lands on both sides of the Cascade Mountains.
The National Weather Service expects the current danger of extreme fire weather in Western Washington to continue into the weekend. Washington has had no measureable rain in August, and September was the third driest on record. The warning was spurred by a weather pattern causing relative humidity to remain uncharacteristically low overnight. The exceptionally low overnight humidity causes grasses, brush and other ‘fuels’ to become bone dry.
“We have not seen wildfire conditions this bad in October in a lifetime,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “I’m concerned that the shorter days and colder weather will lull some people into thinking it’s safe to build campfires or bonfires. We need everyone to be cautious, alert and aware of the burn restrictions.”
The 12 million acres affected by the ban includes all forestlands in Washington, except for federal lands which have their own published restrictions. Campgrounds may have additional burn restrictions in place. Campers should check with their campground host before starting a campfire.
As a result, many normal October outdoor activities, such as outdoor fires, could lead to devastating wildfires.
How to report a wildfire
Report wildfires and unattended campfires to the local 9-1-1 dispatcher. In Washington state, you may also report forest fires by calling 800-562-6010.
Stay connected about wildfire
- · DNR’s Fire Twitter: http://twitter.com/waDNR_fire