DNR urges wildfire awareness this 4th of July - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

DNR urges wildfire awareness this 4th of July

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - Before leaving for 4th of July weekend activities, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds the you to be aware of any fire restrictions in place around the state due to the rising fire danger. The weather is warming up and vegetation is drying out and fires can ignite quickly.

"We hope you and your family enjoy a safe holiday weekend-this is a time to be extra careful with campfires and other outdoor activities," said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.

So far, there have been more than 230 wildfires on the public and private lands DNR protects from wildfire-well above the average number of fires at this point in the fire season. Not surprisingly, DNR records show fire danger is highest Saturday and Sunday afternoons when the woods fill up with recreationists and woodcutters.

Unattended campfires, faulty vehicle or motorcycle mufflers, careless disposal of cigarettes and outdoor burning also boost the 4th of July weekend forest fire potential. DNR fire prevention teams will be out this holiday weekend in some eastern Washington locations to remind people of the fire danger and of any fire restrictions in the area.

Fire safety tips

Here are some helpful tips to help keep this a fun and enjoyable weekend:

  • Before discharging fireworks, check to see if they are allowed in that location. It is illegal to discharge fireworks on state protected and public lands;
  • Be sure recreational vehicles have operating spark arresters;
  • Do not park any vehicles in dry, grassy areas as the heat from exhaust systems can ignite the dry grass;
  • Never leave a campfire unattended, and be sure it is completely out before leaving the area.

For those staying closer to home, this is a good time to reduce the risk of wildfire to your home and property by taking the following actions:

LINK>> Example of recommended conditions in a Home Ignition Zone

  • Do an exterior home inspection;
  • Remove moss and needles from the roof and rain gutters;
  • Clear vegetation and flammable materials from around propane tanks;
  • Stack firewood at least 30 feet from the house;
  • Keep decorative bark and railroad ties away from the foundation-these types of materials provide great places for sparks to smolder;
  • Trim trees to ten feet off the ground for tall trees and adjust for shorter trees; this helps reduce fuels that aid in fire traveling;
  • Maintain defensible space around the home, which is the large. open area firefighters use to defend homes during a wildfire event.
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