Department of Natural Resources reminds campers to extinguish fires

August 19, 2010

By Staff

NEW — 1 p.m. Aug. 19, 2010

The state Department of Natural Resources has been inundated by callers reporting abandoned campfires throughout King and Pierce counties — despite a statewide burn ban.

Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark reminded campers to put out fires in order to reduce the risk of wildfires. Moreover, abandoning a campfire is illegal.

“We want to thank the public for reporting costly, abandoned fires,” he said in a statement released Thursday. “These fires need to be properly put out before they turn into large fires that could place innocent families and property at risk.”

The agency encouraged people to put campfires, and to extinguish any abandoned campfires they discover. Drown the fire with water, stir the ashes and check to make sure the ashes are cool to the touch; if not, repeat the steps.

The agency investigates wildfires and takes appropriate enforcement action — including recovering the costs to extinguish abandoned campfires — if negligence has caused a wildfire.

Under the ban, designated campgrounds can allow campfires in approved fire pits. The state agency or the campground can put additional restrictions in place — including a ban on campfires — depending on weather conditions.

The ban includes all forestlands in Washington, except federal lands, and ends Sept. 30.

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