WASHINGTON - After a year of severe wildfires and growing concerns for land protection against fires, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources is implementing new, temporary burn restrictions in several regions in the state.
The restrictions will apply to DNR-protected lands in the Northwest, Pacific Cascade, and Northeast regions, according to a DNR news release Thursday.
For the next week, DNR is asking the public to avoid burning any debris outside as dry and warmer weather approaches, bringing gusty winds and increased potential for wildfires in areas with dry grass and forests.
Restrictions that will apply per region include:
- Small debris burns ("rule burns") are not allowed
- Permit burns (larger fires requiring a DNR permit) are still allowed
- Small debris burns are allowed
- Permit burns are not allowed
Pacific Cascade region:
- Small debris and permit burns both are not allowed
"Fire season is upon us, and we’re asking the public to not take any chances," said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz in the release statement. "Strong winds and dry weather leave us vulnerable to fast-spreading wildfires, and we cannot protect our firefighters, forests and communities without the public’s help. We need everyone to avoid starting an outdoor burn and, if they do, to fully extinguish their outdoor and have a hose ready if the fire escapes outside the burn area."
DNR says there has been a spike in reported wildfires in the regions. In the last three days, firefighters responded to 40 different incidents, several they say caused by outdoor burning debris.
Last week Washington state Senate unanimously passed a bill - promoted by Franz - to create a dedicated fund to prevent and fight wildfires in Washington. According to the DNR website, in 2020 more than 800,000 acres burned due to wildfires; 600,000 of those acres in a two-week span after Labor Day. The proposed bill would be a part of DNR’s 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan and the Wildland Fire Protection 10-Year Strategic Plan.
More information about the DNR regions and restrictions can be found on their website available here.
Stay connected with Q13 News on all platforms: