Memorial Day Weekend – a good time to remember wildfire safety

Never walk away from a burning or smoldering campfire. Please put it completely out.
Never walk away from a burning or smoldering campfire. Please put it completely out.

Rain or shine, Washington state has already had more than 98 wildfires this year.

As Washington’s wildfires are mostly human-caused, we all need to be aware and more cautious with our actions this Memorial Day weekend.

As you head out to picnic, camp or hike in the outdoors, we want you to be safe from the risk of wildfire. Here are some steps to ensure a fire-safe holiday weekend:

  • Make sure all off-road vehicles have a properly functioning catalytic converter or approved spark arrester.
  • Only build campfires when and where authorized, and put them completely out; use plenty of water, and stir until the coals are cool to the touch before leaving camp even for a few minutes.
  • Dispose of lit, smoking materials appropriately.
  • Remember that discharging fireworks or use of incendiary ammunition or exploding targets is illegal on DNR-protected lands, including all state forests.

If you decide to stay home for the three-day weekend and avoid the crowds, now is a good time to think about protecting your home from wildfire. For tips on creating a defensible space for your home and firefighters, go to DNR’s Wildfire Preparedness webpage. You can also use tips from www.firewise.org.

DNR encourages homeowners, land managers, first responders, developers, business owners, and civic leaders to focus on “Knowing Your Role” when it comes to preparing communities for wildfire. Visit the Fire Adapted Communities website (http://fireadapted.org/) to learn more about defensible space, fire-resilient building construction and community wildfire prevention planning.

Remember, before you go out, know the burning restrictions in your area. Daily updates on burn restrictions are available at 1-800-323-BURN or the online burn risk map.