Wildfire season officially begins Monday

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OLYMPIA — Regardless of the wet, rainy spring, wildfire season officially begins Monday, as specified by state law, and summer fire rules on state Department of Natural Resources land will go into effect then.

The rules, which extend each year from April 15 through Oct. 15, apply to the 12.9 million acres of private and state forestlands protected from wildfire by DNR.

They are intended to prevent forest fires and to ensure that small fires are extinguished before they spread.

The regulations affect loggers, firewood cutters, land clearers, road builders, bulldozer operators and off-road motorcyclists, among others.

During fire season, those using motorized equipment in the woods must have approved spark arresters and follow fire safety precautions.

Those working in the woods must have fire prevention and extinguishing equipment in good working order at the job site and staff trained in its proper use.

Smoking restricted

Cigarette smoking is restricted in forested areas to roads, gravels pits or other clearings. Fireworks are prohibited.

Although conditions are damp now, they can change quickly, DNR said in a statement, pointing out that as of Monday, 17 forest fires had been reported this year on lands protected by DNR.

Last year, 794 fires burned about 68,347 acres of DNR land, with 94 percent fewer than 10 acres in size and 79 percent caused by people, the department said.

For more information about prevention, visit www.fireadapted.org.

Those who work in the woods can get daily updates on fire-risk ratings by phoning 800-527-3305 or visiting www.dnr.wa.gov.

Last modified: April 11. 2013 5:47PM
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