OLYMPIA, Wash. – With unusually dry conditions and wildfires burning in parts of the state, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is prohibiting campfires and other activities on all agency-managed lands.
The emergency order now in effect prohibits:
- Fires or campfires: However, personal camp stoves or lanterns fueled by liquid petroleum, liquid petroleum gas or propane are allowed.
- Smoking: Unless in an enclosed vehicle.
- Target shooting: Except at shooting ranges developed by WDFW.
- Welding and the use of chainsaws and other equipment:Operating a torch with an open flame and equipment powered by an internal combustion engine is prohibited.
- Operating a motor vehicle off developed roads: Except when parking in areas without vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway and parking in developed campgrounds and at trailheads.
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OLYMPIA – With fire danger continuing to increase across Washington, officials from four state agencies today urged residents to recognize that even seemingly low-risk activities, such as parking on a grassy field or using motorized yard tools, can spark a wildfire.
Thirty-seven of the state’s 39 counties have declared burn bans. Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark has banned fires on all lands protected by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), including wildlife areas and other facilities managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
However, even those protections don’t address all the ways people can unintentionally spark a wildfire.
“Most people are responsible and use good judgment,” said Mary Verner, DNR’s Deputy Supervisor for Resource Protection. “On the other hand, most wildfires are human-caused. We want to alert people to the extremely hazardous conditions and ask that they take extra precaution even with routine and seemingly safe activities.”
Bruce Bjork, Chief of Enforcement for WDFW, said people driving off-road can start a fire simply by driving across or parking on a grassy field, like those that exist at most of the department’s nearly 200 wildlife area units.
“Dry grass touching a vehicle’s hot exhaust system could start a major fire, especially when the wind is blowing,” said Bjork. “If you’re driving through the woods or open range, please stay on the road surface until you find a paved or graveled area to park.”
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