What Should Washington Residents Know About Wildfires?


Quick Answer

Washington residents should know that wildfires occur during drought conditions when the weather is dry and hot, often peaking in July and August. During peak wildfire times, state agencies put fire restrictions in place to prevent dangerous wildfires.

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Full Answer

During peak wildlife season, or when wildfire conditions are present, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife forbids open fires on its lands, but lanterns and camp stoves are permissible. Smoking is also prohibited unless the smoker is inside a vehicle or structure. Welding, chainsaws, open flame torches and equipment with internal combustion engines are not allowed during fire season, and motor vehicles are prohibited on undeveloped roads. Exceptions to this rule are parking areas with no nearby vegetation, and trailheads or established campgrounds. Motorists should also not throw lit cigarettes on the roadside while driving.

The 2015 fire season is ahead of the previous year by at least 100 fire starts. Emergency officials try to predict potential wildfire outbreaks by having personnel ready in areas that may suffer lightning strikes. They also must keep personnel ready to respond to accidental fires of human origin. In 2015, the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, experienced unusually hot weather in May and June and lower than average precipitation, making for a dangerous wildfire season.

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