The Department of Natural Resources announced a statewide burn ban effective July 1 through Sept. 30 on all DNR protected lands.
“We are getting into our fire season, and fuels are getting dryer,” said Koshare Eagle, DNR assistant region manager for resource protection and services.
Eagle’s region spans from Chelan County south to Klickitat County. She’s been involved in wildfire for 16 years
“We don’t want people abandoning their fires. They should put their fires completely out,” she said. “The proper way to put out a campfire is to douse it with water and stir it up. Repeat that until it’s cold and you can touch it with your hands. Just throwing water on top is not going to stop things underneath from burning.”
Recreational activities are also a common cause of wildfire.
“Off-road vehicles and motorcycle drivers that want to drive off road have to have spark arrestor equipment,” Eagle said.
Wildfire ignition has been linked to sparks from driving and shooting. A fire at the end of Navarre Road burned 800 acres and had more than 300 personnel fighting the fire until it was contained on July 11, 2012.
“That fire looks like it was started by exploding Tannerite,” Eagle said. “Those exploding Tannerite targets are illegal on state forested lands.”
Not only the does the Tannerite pose a risk, but Eagle said sparks from shooting rocks and metal targets could also ignite a fire.
“State law requires us to recover the cost of fire suppression where we can and there have been a number of instances where we were able to do that,” Eagle said.
Forcasts for the Wenatchee Valley include high temperatures, low precipitation and wind gusts, which, when combined, make a good reason to use care when wielding any number of potential fire starters.