OLYMPIA — With two wildfires burning in Western Washington, the state Department of Natural Resources is warning the public to err on the side of caution.
Never underestimate the ability of grass and brush to catch on fire, the DNR said Sunday in a news release. Even with very few warm days this spring, the landscape has already had a chance to dry out. It doesn’t take much for a wildfire to spread quickly, especially when dry winds blow 5 mph or more.
Here is what the DNR wants you to know:
In Washington, outdoor burning is the leading cause of wildfire ignitions at this time of year. Landowners who are burning outdoors need to be alert if wind starts to pick up. Debris burning is not allowed when winds start to sway trees, which is about 7 miles per hour. If winds increase while burning, immediately extinguish the fire completely with water and a shovel.
Before burning, check local weather to ensure winds will be low. Call 1-800-323-BURN for local burning conditions.
Trees, shrubs, grasses and other vegetation provide fuel for fires. Reducing or even eliminating vegetation close to structures is a way to create defensible space against a wildfire. If you’re designing or updating your home’s landscaping, think of ways to incorporate firebreaks (things that don’t burn) into your landscape design. A defensible space doesn’t have to be an eyesore. Some examples of firebreaks are: concrete, brick or gravel walkways, a flagstone patio, concrete flower box borders or planters, and water features such as ponds. Even the backyard swimming pool can serve as a firebreak.
For additional tips on how to reduce the risk of wildfire to your community, home and family, visit www.firewise.org