Campfires prohibited in all Washington state parks

Washington State Parks announced today that campfires in all state parks will be prohibited until further notice to help prevent human-caused wildfires during the hot

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Board of Natural Resources approves land purchase on Olympic Peninsula for Common School Trust

OLYMPIA – The Board of Natural Resources today authorized the purchase of an 80-acre parcel of forestland on the Olympic Peninsula. The parcel, which is zoned as commercial forest, will

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Construction of BPA’s Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line begins in May

The Bonneville Power Administration will begin construction of the Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line Project in May. The new line is expected to carry over 800 additional megawatts of renewable wind energy, enough to power about half a million Northwest homes when the wind is blowing. The 38-mile, 500-kilovolt line in Washington will connect the new Central Ferry Substation in Garfield County to the existing Lower Monumental Substation in Walla Walla County. It is expected to be energized in December 2015. “Building the right facilities in the right place at the right time is a key principle of our long-term transmission services planning process,” said Richard Shaheen, BPA vice president for Engineering and Technical Services. “Specifically, this project will add critical transmission grid capacity, support new transmission requests from generators in the Snake River area and be a welcome boost to local and regional economies.” For more than 75 years, BPA has been the major developer of energy infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. Electric utilities and electric power consumers depend on BPA to maintain reliable transmission service at low rates and meet growing demands for electricity. Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line ProjectOver the past several years, numerous power generation projects, including large wind projects, have requested interconnection with the BPA system in the Snake River area. After studying the transmission system and identifying where capacity is available, BPA determined that there is not enough available transmission capacity to accommodate the requests. Building the Central Ferry-Lower Monumental project will allow BPA to meet the requests for transmission and allow additional power to flow between areas east of the Cascade Mountains to heavily populated areas in the west. In August 2011, the Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line Project was put on hold because of uncertainties regarding the need for the new line. However, in August 2013, BPA notified customers, landowners and stakeholders that it was moving forward with construction of the line. Existing customer need coupled with an agreement for Portland General Electric to acquire Phase 2 of Puget Sound Energy’s Lower Snake River Wind Project, which PGE renamed the Tucannon River Wind Farm, required construction activities to begin this spring. The Tucannon River Wind Farm is a key infrastructure investment that supports PGE’s balanced energy portfolio. Tucannon River will help PGE satisfy Oregon’s renewable energy standard, which requires the utility to supply 15 percent of the electricity its customers use from renewable resources by 2015 and 25 percent by 2025. In early 2011, BPA completed an environmental impact statement and preliminary engineering design for the project. BPA issued a record of decision to build the line in March 2011. Since then, BPA has conducted additional environmental review of some access road modifications and a material yard. The contractor hired to build the new line is MYR Group, a leading specialty contractor serving the electrical infrastructure market throughout the United States. It has the experience and expertise to complete electrical installations of any type and size. MYR Group’s power line capabilities include transmission, overhead and underground distribution and substation projects. BPA also will be holding two “Meet the Builder” open-houses in late April so the public can learn more about the construction process and schedule, speak with representatives of the MYR Group and meet the BPA project team.  To learn more about the project, go to www.bpa.gov/goto/centralferrylomo.

WDFW Commission approves land purchases for wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation

OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved the purchase of a 5,497-acre property 35 miles northwest of Yakima that provides prime habitat for elk, northern spotted owls, bull trout and other native species.

Also approved was a separate purchase by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to add a 598-acre property to the state’s Wenas Wildlife Area in Yakima County.

The commission, a citizen board that sets policy for WDFW, approved both acquisitions during a public meeting Nov. 8-9 in Olympia, where members also heard public comments on a proposed management plan for Grays Harbor salmon fisheries.

Commission Chair Miranda Wecker of Naselle commended the Nature Conservancy and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation - the two non-profit organizations that offered the properties for sale - for their dedication to wildlife conservation.

"We applaud you for securing these properties for the public, and for the stewardship your organizations provide for lands under your care," she told representatives of those groups who attended the meeting.

DNR: Public encouraged to heed fire safety this Labor Day weekend

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging campers, recreationists, woods workers, and other forest visitors to be especially careful with fire this weekend. Despite some recent regional precipitation, fire danger remains high in Washington.

 

In an effort to reduce human-caused wildfires, DNR has issued a statewide burn ban on all lands under DNR protection, effective through September 30. The ban applies to all forestlands in Washington State, except federal lands. While campfires are allowed in approved pits west of the Cascade Mountains in all state, local and private campgrounds, they are not allowed east of the Cascade Mountains.

 

DNR suggests always checking to see if there are additional local restrictions on campfires before leaving home to go camping or hiking. Because campgrounds may choose to ban campfires, it’s best to check with the campground host before considering a campfire.

For daily updates on burn restrictions, call 1-800-323-BURN or visit DNR’s webpage showing fire danger and burning restrictions by county: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx 



Washington State Parks bans campfires in all state parks

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington State Parks department says that campfires in all state parks will be prohibited until further notice to help prevent human-caused wildfires during the hot, dry season on both sides of the Cascade Mountains. 

Campers will be allowed to use devices that allow for control of combustion, including propane and liquid gas stoves appropriate for camping and backcountry use; propane barbecue devices that do not use solid briquettes; propane or pressurized white gas warming devices that have a shield or base; and solid fuel citronella or other candles in a metal bucket or glass container. 

In prescribing the ban on campfires, Washington State Parks is following the lead of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which Tuesday notified the public of a ban on all outdoor burning on lands protected by DNR. That agency has fire protection responsibility on approximately 50 percent of state park lands. The State Parks ban on open fires and campfires in all state parks is intended to minimize public confusion and cooperate in DNR’s effort to prevent wildfires. 

DNR has said that significant demands are being placed upon fire suppression resources from regional and statewide firefighting efforts. Wildfires are often ignited by lightning, but most fires are caused by human activities, including carelessly tended outdoor fires.