OLYMPIA — With wildfire risk reaching a breaking point Washington's Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary S. Franz, has banned all outdoor burning on lands in Washington that are protected by the Department of Natural Resources.
Franz's order will run through Sept. 30 due to potential fire danger that is forecast to continue for the next two months. The DNR, which boasts the state's largest firefighting crew, has responded to around 900 fires in 2018, opposed to 853 in 2017, which have burned 113,000 acres statewide.
“Wildfires result in large expenditures of public funding that can be avoided through prudent actions to prevent them,” reads Franz's order.
The ban could possibly run longer than the end of September or end before the Sept. 30 date. The ban covers all outdoor burning, as well as the use of charcoal briquettes and prescribed burns.
The only exceptions to the ban are:
- Recreational fires in approved fire pits at designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds.
- Fires that are approved in writing by the Commissioner of Public Lands or department supervisor and must be conducted for ecological fires and must be done by trained professionals.
- Liquefied and bottled gas stoves and heaters, as long as they are used in an area that is at least 10 feet in diameter. The areas must be barren or cleared of all flammable material.
Fires for any other reason must be approved in writing by the Commissioner of Public ands department supervisor when there is a compelling reason for the exception.