The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is asking the public to be cautious, alert and aware of burn restrictions.
Wildfire activity escalated in recent days after thunderstorms, many with little or no moisture, moved across parts of the Northwest and sparked hundreds of new fires. The fire forecast for most of the western U.S. calls for hot and dry weather to continue into the fall.
While the likelihood of fires is high, resources available to fight fires are stretched thin. The National Interagency Fire Center has moved the National Wildfire Preparedness Level to the highest level, PL-5, indicating that fire suppression resources are becoming scarce.
Of the Department of Natural Resources’ five interagency incident management teams, two are staffing wildfires in Washington. The other teams are replenishing their resources after suppressing several large fires, including the Mile Marker 28 and Colockum Tarps fires, which consumed a combined area in excess of 100,000 acres.
In addition, agency personnel continue to extinguish numerous smaller fires almost every day. And, consistent with mutual aid agreements, the state agency has sent personnel and equipment to Oregon to help contain wildfires on the other side of the state line.
Currently, there is a statewide burn ban on 13 million acres of forestlands in Washington. Campgrounds may have additional burn restrictions in place. Campers should check with their campground host or the local fire district before starting a campfire.
Call 9-1-1 to report wildfires or unattended campfires. In this state, forest fires can also be reported by calling 800-562-6010.