Photo by Sue Misao

Photo by Sue Misao

A burn ban is in effect until Sept. 30 on all state lands protected by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark announced Tuesday (July 30).

Hot and dry conditions have made the potential for wildfire unusually high on both sides of the Cascade Mountains. The ban prohibits campfires in developed campgrounds and other recreational fires, as well as prescribed burns.

“Now is the time to be vigilant. It is everyone’s responsibility to be appropriately cautious during this season,” Goldmark said in a press release. “The risk of wildfire is unusually high and the consequences could be catastrophic. We have hundreds of firefighters fighting two major wildfires and numerous smaller fires in Washington state. Our resources are stretched thin.”

Wildfires are often ignited by lightning, and this week’s weather forecasts indicate a significant potential for lightning-caused wildfires.

Most fires are caused by human activities. Some of the most destructive fire threats to our state’s wildlands and homes in rural areas can be traced to three sources: carelessly tended outdoor fires, indefensible home sites, and sparks caused by equipment or vehicles.

DNR advises recreational vehicle owners to be sure the vehicles have operating spark arresters. Also, do not park any vehicles in dry, grassy areas as residual heat from exhaust systems can ignite the dry grass. It is illegal to discharge fireworks or use incendiary ammunition or exploding targets on DNR lands.

DNR encourages homeowners to take steps to decrease the risk of wildfire destroying their homes. Learn more at www.firewise.org.