DNR bans all outdoor burning, expanding on local restrictions

  • Wed Sep 6th, 2017 7:00pm
  • News

By Lauren Smith

The Olympian

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has extended its burn ban to cover the entire state.

Until now, DNR has implemented restrictions regionally. But, after responding to 21 new fires on Labor Day, the agency expanded the ban to prohibit burning on all forest areas under its jurisdiction — including state parks.

Meantime, the National Weather Service in Portland has issued a Red Flag Warning, which replaces a previously issued Fire Weather Watch, for all of Pacific County, which is in effect from 3 p.m. Wednesday, until 11 p.m. Thursday.

Such a warning is issued for weather events that may result in extreme fire behavior. It is the highest alert level.

The Weather Service is forecasting abundant lightning. Thunderstorms will be moving rapidly through the area, but fast enough to prevent widespread wetting rains that might diminish chances of fires. Fuels remain critically dry. An outdoor burn ban is already in effect in all of Pacific County.

As fire conditions can change frequently, the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency will not be posting updated information. Residents are encouraged to check with the Weather Service website for updated information at www.wrh.noaa.gov/pqr/.

As of Wednesday, Grays Harbor County fire districts and fire departments joined with state DNR and the Olympic Regionial Clean Air Agency to enact restrictions on all outdoor burning. All recreational campfires, barbeques using charcoal briquette or other solid fuels, residential burning, along with land clearing and silvicultural [forest practices] burning was prohibited until further notice.

Smoke from several regional fires continued to hover over Southwest Washington on Wednesday.

“Wildfire and smoke is affecting every community around the state as we see the hot, dry summer take its toll on our forests,” Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said in the DNR news release. “Without any relief from this weather in the foreseeable future and with our firefighters spread across the Northwest, we can no longer allow outdoor burning anywhere in Washington.”

Restrictions on federally owned lands — such as national forests, parks and wildlife refuges — are made by federal agencies, the release said.