Even trail crews take extra steps during times of high wildfire risk

Hand Tools, IFPL
During fire-prone conditions, Industrial Fire Precaution Levels can restrict forest activities to hand tools only. Photo/ DNR.

All industrial forest work activities are guided by the Industrial Fire Precaution Levels (IFPL), which have varying degrees of restrictions intended to reduce the risk of starting a wildfire. Even trail work on DNR-managed lands has had to to go old school and take extra precautions around activities that wouldn’t typically cause wildfires.

Levels change daily and trail crews must be flexible to continue their valuable work for trails statewide.

How restrictions work on the ground
For example, throughout the summer trail crews in Tiger Mountain and in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area carried 5-gallon bags of water, a fire extinguisher, measured relative humidity, and finished early if conditions became too dry.

Washington Conservation Corps crew members that built motorcycle trails in Reiter Foothills Forest also adhered to the precaution levels. Some levels required them to swap motorized wheelbarrows and mini excavators for shovels and Pulaskis when conditions became too hazardous.

In Yacolt Burn State Forest, DNR staff who trimmed ferns on the Tarbell trail also adhered to levels by starting work in the wee hours of the morning, called “Hoot Owl” hours, and finishing by early afternoon, when temperatures heat up and humidity decreases.

Use the Industrial Fire Precaution Level map to see daily restrictions for forest workers. Photo/ DNR.

How you can help
Visit our YouTube video and take 90 seconds to learn about steps you can take to reduce your risk of accidentally starting a wildfire. Learn more about our Industrial Fire Precaution Levels online.

When conditions become so challenging, it takes vigilance and critical thinking on everyone’s part, even when performing typically harmless activities, such as trail work, to prevent wildfire.

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