Posts Tagged ‘DNR’

Napa earthquake a reminder of risks in Washington state; New map shows risk levels

August 25, 2014
Earthquake damage risk

Relative risk for earthquake damage in Washington and Oregon shown in red, orange and yellow. Image: USGS.

A few weeks before Sunday’s 6.0 magnitude earthquake in northern California, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released an updated earthquake risk map for the lower 48 states. The maps, used for building codes and insurance purposes, calculate how much shaking a building might experience during its lifetime from the biggest earthquake likely in the area. As the maps show, Washington state — from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean — is at high risk from damaging earthquakes. In fact, we face a triple threat:

  • Shallow or crustal earthquakes, such as those that can be caused by the Seattle Fault
  • Deep intraslab earthquakes, such as the 6.8 magnitude Nisqually earthquake of 2001
  • Mega-thrust earthquakes, such as the 9.0 magnitude Cascadia earthquake of 1700

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake on the Cascadia subduction, which lies just off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, northern California, and British Columbia, would be one thousand times more powerful than the Nisqually earthquake of 2001. The impacts on coastal communities could be similar to the effects of earthquakes that struck Japan in March 2011 and Chile in February 2010.

Emergency managers and preparedness experts agree that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” can help reduce injuries and deaths during earthquakes.

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to your shelter and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.

You cannot tell from the initial shaking if an earthquake will suddenly become intense… so always Drop, Cover, and Hold On immediately.

Find information about preparing for — and surviving — an earthquake on the Washington State Emergency Management Division website.

Visit the Washington State Seismic Hazards Catalog to see interactive graphic representations of how a major earthquake might affect your area of the state.

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Take a trip to visit a mystic mounded prairie

August 14, 2014

Looking for something kid-friendly to do on DNR-managed conservation lands? Let their imaginations run wild on 637 acres of grassland mounds at the DNR Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve (NAP).

Mima Mounds

Camas blooms at the unique Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve managed by DNR. Photo: DNR/Birdie Davenport

Located next to Capitol State Forest near Olympia, Washington, Mima Mounds NAP protects the mounded Puget prairie landscape. Scientists differ on how the mounds formed; ice age flood deposits, earthquakes — even gophers — are among the formation theories offered.

Mima Mounds

Unique topography is one of the features of DNR’s Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve south of Olympia. Photo: DNR.

Rising to landmark status
In 1966, the National Park Service designated Mima Mounds a National Natural Landmark for its outstanding condition, illustrative value of a landform, rarity, and value to science and education. The site is one of 17 National Natural Landmarks in Washington state.

The NAP, established in 1976, includes native grasslands, a small Garry oak woodland, savannah (widely spaced oak trees with grass understory), Douglas-fir forest, and habitat for prairie-dependent butterflies and birds.

Unearthing site information and education

Mima Mounds Interpretive Center

Mima Mounds NAP has a lot of informational material for visitors to read while they’re there. DNR photo

Visitors to the site can stop at its interpretive center before stepping onto the trail that skirts around the mounds. The center provides historical and educational information about the site.

For those looking to get a better view of the area, a short set of stairs to the rooftop of the interpretive center provides a look from above.

Discover Pass logoDiscover Pass required
Don’t forget to grab your Discover Pass before heading out on this prairie
adventure. The Discover Pass is required to park a car at Mima Mounds NAP or anywhere in Capitol State Forest. This $30 annual access pass (or $10 day pass) is your ticket to Washington state great outdoors. All proceeds directly support state-managed outdoor recreation.

Adventure on!
Learn more about Mima Mounds NAP and other DNR adventures on our website at www.dnr.wa.gov/recreation.

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Defend your home from wildfire (Defienda su casa de incendios forestales)

August 6, 2014

Defend Your Home

Many people would like to live in a serene setting, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but not completely isolated from familiar conveniences. The housing market is responding to these desires by building new neighborhoods in the countryside – and scores of new home buyers are settling in each year. Unfortunately, this trend is happening as signs point to a warmer climate with more intense and frequent wildfires ahead.

How can you – as just one member of a community in an outlying area – prepare for the threat of wildfires?

You can clear out the brush, tree limbs and other woody material from along driveways and other access roads to your property. This firebreak may stop, or at least slow, an oncoming wildfire.

Protect your home by lopping off those pesky low-lying limbs from trees and removing flammable material from the grounds around your house. To some, a green lawn looks out of place around a rural home site, but it may just save your house from the worst of a wildfire. If you’re remodeling or building a new home, consider installing a metal roof and using other fire-resistant materials where possible.

Con la ayuda de La Comisión de Asuntos Hispanos del estado de Washington, DNR ha creado un volante en español que describe visualmente cómo crear un espacio de seguridad alrededor de las casas para ayudar a defenderlas de incendios forestales. (With the help of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs, DNR has created a flyer in English & Spanish that tells how to create a space around homes that helps defend from wildfires.)

Here are tips to make the area surrounding your home into a defensible space more likely to resist wildfire.

Resources to help you defend your home

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DNR has many volunteer opportunities planned in August

July 31, 2014
DNR volunteer event

Popular trails get worn and become more susceptible to erosion. Volunteers help DNR stretch its scarce maintenance dollars to keep trails safe. Photo: DNR

Interested in recreation on DNR managed land, but not sure how to get involved? Luckily, DNR has all sorts of volunteer opportunities on deck for August and we would love to see you there.

DNR volunteers are vital to maintaining a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience for visitors to DNR’s recreation facilities and trails. This isn’t an easy feat, and DNR is blessed with many dedicated volunteers. In 2013, volunteers totaled 61,300 volunteer hours on recreation projects.

If you’d like to join in on the fun, check out some of DNR’s volunteer opportunities below. For more details and updates on all DNR recreation volunteer opportunities, visit our volunteer calendar.

August 2
Friends of Capitol Forest Monthly Work Party
Where:
Capitol State Forest
Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What: Join DNR staff and volunteers from Friends of Capitol Forest for a work party to improve road crossing areas, remove wood supports on berms, and drainage. Kids are welcome! There is often a mountain bike ride after the work party.
Directions: (Map) Meet at the “Y” intersection of Waddell Creek Road and Sherman Valley Road.
Contact: Nick Cronquist, 360-480-2700

August 9
Walker Valley ORV Area Work
Where: Walker Valley
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What: Join DNR staff and other volunteers to help work on trails, clean ditches, haul gravel, brush trails, paint, pick up garbage, and more! No need to call first.
Directions: (Map) Meet at the Walker Valley Trailhead Information Kiosk: 18652 Peter Burns Rd., Mount Vernon, WA
Contact: Jim Cahill, 360-854-2874

August 16
Nicholson Horse Trails Work Party
Where: Sahara Creek Campground
Time: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What: Please join DNR staff and Pierce County Chapter Back Country Horsemen to work on the Nicholson Horse Trails.
Directions: Start at Elbe. Go 5.3 miles on Hwy 706. Turn left into the site.
Contact: Nancy Barker, 253-312-4301

August 23
Reiter Foothills ORV Work Party
Where: Reiter Foothills Forest
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What: Join DNR staff to enhance the Motorcycle Trials trail area and work other ORV trail projects.
Directions: Drive East on Hwy 2 through the town of Gold Bar. Turn left onto Reiter Road. Continue for 3.8 miles. Deer Flats Mainline Road will be on your left. Meet at the Deer Flats Mainline Gate.
Contact: Daniel Christian, 360-333-7846

Need a Discover Pass?
If you don’t have a Discover Pass, DNR staff can provide you with one for the day you volunteer. These volunteer events are eligible toward a complimentary Discover Pass.

Before you go, make sure to check our open and closure notices page.

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Governor Inslee urges extreme caution with rapidly growing fires

July 18, 2014
Twisp, WA

Smoke from one of the wildfires in the Carlton Complex towers over the town of Twisp in the Methow Valley of eastern Washington state..

In a news conference today, Gov. Jay Inslee called upon Washington state residents to respond quickly if requested to evacuate by authorities, as approximately 2,000 personnel from DNR and other fire agencies battle several wildfires in eastern Washington state.

“This is an extreme fire event. It requires extreme caution, and we are responding to it as rapidly as possible,” Inslee said. The governor said the rapid growth of the fires “calls for all of us to be on the highest level of alert and also on the highest level of cooperation with emergency responders. The focus is on getting people away from the fires.”

With wildfires jumping both the Okanogan and Methow rivers to threaten the town of Okanogan, Inslee said the 100 National Guard troops already deployed to wildfires will be supplemented by about 1,000 more troops in coming days as they complete DNR wildfire training.

About 50 fires are burning on the state’s eastside. Among them are the Mills Complex, which includes several wildfires covering about 35 square miles, and the Carlton Complex, which ballooned from an estimated 28 square miles on Thursday to 260 square miles by Friday morning.

Stay up-to-date on fire conditions with these important links:

Thank you Washington National Guard!

July 17, 2014
National Guard Helicopter

A National Guard helicopter aiding in the fight against a wildfire. PHOTO: Dan Boyle

Big thanks to the Washington National Guard and the efforts they are putting in to fight these wildfires! The Washington National Guard has been called in to aid wildfire responders in this very difficult and busy fire season in Washington state.

A state of emergency was declared by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen on Tuesday in 20 Eastern Washington counties because of the multiple wildfires in the region. Within less than 24 hours the Washington National Guard responded.

Guard members are aiding in the fight against wildfires. These wildfires threaten not only forests but many homes and other buildings. Already two helicopters from the National Guard are on duty and with more coming the next few days.

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Statewide burn ban on all DNR-protected lands

July 14, 2014
Before having any campfire, check with your campground host or the local fire district to see if they are allowed. PHOTO BY: Sarah Foster

Before having any campfire, check with your campground host or the local fire district to see if they are allowed. PHOTO BY: Sarah Foster

DNR has extended the burn ban to include western Washington for all DNR-protected lands, effective through September 30, 2014. A burn ban was already in please for eastern Washington beginning July 1.

Hot and dry conditions increase the potential for wildfire over the next several weeks on both sides of the Cascades. With the current heat wave projected to last into next week, DNR is urging people to be extra vigilant.

Already this year, DNR has dealt with more than 260 wildfire starts which burned approximately 19,000 acres.

The burn ban includes all forestlands in Washington except for federal lands. Campgrounds may have additional burn restrictions in place. Campers should check with their campground host before starting a campfire.

The ban applies to all outdoor burning on DNR-protected forestlands with the following exceptions:

  • Recreational fires in approved fire pits in designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds;
  • DNR-approved prescribed fires for ecological purposes may be permitted if expressly approved by the Commissioner of Public Lands.
  • Gas and propane self-contained stoves/barbeque grills. Charcoal briquettes are not allowed.

DNR has a Wildfire Prevention Tip Card that explains how you can prevent wildfires and keep your home and community safe.

More information

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5 Boating Safety Tips: Know before you go

July 11, 2014
Kayakers take advantage of nice weather to paddle in Puget Sound. Photo: DNR.

Kayakers take advantage of nice weather to paddle in Puget Sound. Photo: DNR.

With the arrival of hot summer days, you may be anxious to get out on the water and play! However, there have been many close calls due to cold water and the unpredictable weather in Puget Sound.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is an advocate of safe and sustainable recreation. Before you head out to play, make sure you follow these five safety tips:

  1. Dress for the occasion. On a sunny day, a dip in the cool water might not sound like such a bad thing, but hypothermia can set in after only minutes of exposure. A wetsuit is a great way to stay safe and comfortable. If a wetsuit isn’t an option, wool clothing insulates better than cotton when wet.
  2. Practice self-rescue. In the event that you end up in the water unintentionally, being able to get back into your boat in deep water is imperative. Practice self-rescue in safe water before heading out.
  3. Be aware of offshore winds. When kayaking in open water, make sure to pay attention to off-shore winds that can make the paddle back to shore difficult.
  4. Paddle with a partner. If you kayak with a buddy, you’ll always have someone there in case of an emergency… plus, it’s much more fun.
  5. Always wear your PFD (personal floatation device). The most important thing to remember is that PFDs save lives. Don’t paddle without one.

    A group of kayakers paddle in Bellingham Channel. Cypress Island and one of the Cone Islands are in the background. Photo: DNR/Jason Goldstein

    A group of kayakers paddle in Bellingham Channel. Cypress Island and one of the Cone Islands are in the background. Photo: DNR/Jason Goldstein

If you want to take your paddling safety skills to the next level, check out these resources:

FREE online paddle safety course
Washington Water Trails Association

If you operate a motor boat, you’ll need to get your Boater Education Card from State Parks.

Remember, be safe and have a great time on the water!

Do you have any water safety tips? Please send your comments to recreation@dnr.wa.gov.

Find waterside recreation sites for DNR-managed lands, recreation rules, opening and closure information, and more on our Recreation web page.

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Rec Alert: Lake Spokane Recreation Area CLOSED

July 10, 2014

Lake Spokane Campground is closed to the public while fire crews use the site to host base camp operations to fight the Lake Spokane fire.

Spokane Lake Campground is closed to help firefighting efforts. Photo by: KXLY 4 News

Spokane Lake Campground is closed to help firefighting efforts. Photo by: KXLY 4 News

The Lake Spokane campground, day-use, water access areas, and boat launch are all completely closed to the public.

Although this is a DNR campground, the site has been managed by Washington State Parks since 2012. If you have questions about reservations at Lake Spokane, please call 509-465-5064.

Where can I go instead?
We’re asking the public to stay clear of Lake Spokane recreation area so fire crews can focus on their work. By visiting other sites, you will be helping the firefighters fight the fire. We understand the inconvenience of this situation and greatly appreciate your support.

During this closure, please visit one of the following nearby recreation instead:

  • Riverside State Park.
  • Nine Mile Recreation Area Campground. This location has a campground, day-use, and swimming area for public use.
  • Two public boat launches located at south end of Lake Spokane.
  • The DNR-managed Dragoon Creek Campground.

Nine Mile Recreation Area Campground
11226 W Charles Rd
Nine Mile Falls, Washington 99026

Riverside State Park
9711 W. Charles Road
Nine Mile Falls, WA 99026

Dragoon Creek Campground
Start in Spokane at the junction of US Hwy 2 and US Hwy 395.
Go north on US Hwy 395 for 10.2 mi.
Turn left on Dragoon Creek Rd. Go 0.4 mi. to camp entrance.

Please remember a Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to these campgrounds.

Stay connected
Make sure you’re in the loop this fire season. Get updates on Washington wildfires by following the DNR Fire Twitter.

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You say ‘tsunami’ I say ‘tidal wave’ Who’s right?

June 23, 2014

If you say ‘tsunami’ to describe those immense swells of water that can reach 100 feet in height, travel at more than 500 mph, and are capable of causing widespread destruction, then you are correct. This short video from the TED-Ed series explains tsunamis and how they work.

A tidal wave, by the way, is simply what happens when the tide comes in from a body of water. Because they are caused by gravitational interactions between the Sun, Moon, and Earth, tidal waves are predictable events. Check out the Department of Ecology’s description of Puget Sound tides.

Tsunamis, on the other hand, are unpredictable, and frequently caused by powerful earthquakes under the ocean floor. This type of earthquake pushes a large volume of water to the surface, creating waves that become the tsunami. The waves may be small in the deep, open ocean, but get much bigger and more dangerous as they approach shallower coastal waters. A tsunami also can be triggered by a volcanic eruption, landslide, or other movements of the Earth’s surface.

We cannot prevent tsunamis (or tidal waves, for that matter) but we can take precautions — and we should because the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where two large tectonic plates are rubbing together, lies just off our coast

DNR and its Division of Geology and Earth Resources work closely with the Washington Emergency Management Division, federal agencies, and local governments to prepare maps of recommended tsunami evacuation routes for many coastal Washington communities. Local and state emergency officials rely on maps of earthquake faults, tsunami inundation zones, and other information to plan their responses to earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters.

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