State lands commissioner asks for help from public amid high wildfire risk

August 16, 2012

NEW — 10:30 p.m. Aug. 16, 2012

State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark asked for help from the public Thursday to prevent wildfires, as the risk rises on both sides of the Cascades.

“The next three days are going to be very dangerous in terms of the potential for wildfire,” he said in a statement. “That is true in Western Washington as well as Eastern Washington. It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe and not take any risks.”

The request came as the National Weather Service maintains a regional excessive heat warning for communities along Puget Sound and in the Cascade foothills. Temperatures could approach 100 degrees in Issaquah on Thursday.

The weekend forecast includes a significant risk of lightning-sparked wildfires.

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State money is available to restore fish passages

August 7, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications from small forest landowners to apply for grants to remove culverts and fish passage barriers.

Through the Family Forest Fish Passage Program, the agency has enough funding to remove about 100 additional fish blockages statewide through 2014.

Structures eligible for the program must be associated with a road crossing on forestland, on a fish-bearing stream, present a barrier to fish and be owned by a small forest landowner.

Find the online application — and a way for forest landowners to arrange fish passage evaluations — at www.surveymonkey.com/FFFPP.

State law requires forestland owners to remove barriers so salmon and other fish can migrate and reach food and spawning areas upstream, but the cost of correcting or replacing culverts can be prohibitively high for many small forest landowners.

The program has corrected 232 barriers and reconnected 485 miles of fish habitat statewide since 2003.

King County joins regional burn ban as fire risk increases

July 24, 2012

King County joined a regional burn ban July 17, after the county fire marshal joined a similar moratorium in Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties.

The ban came as forecasts call for continued dry conditions and the summer fire risk increases. The ban is in place until Sept. 1.

The moratorium applies to all outdoor burning except for small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or on private property with the owner’s permission.

Under the ban, fires must be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, and not be used as debris disposal. Fires must not grow larger than 3 feet in diameter.

Fires must be located in a clear spot free from any vegetation for at least 10 feet in a horizontal direction, including at least 25 feet from any structure. Fires should have a 20-foot vertical clearance from overhanging branches.

Fires must be attended at all times, and equipment capable of extinguishing the fire should be nearby as the fire burns.

The regional moratorium joins state Department of Natural Resources and Eastside Fire & Rescue bans.

State seeks input on forest recreation from Tiger Mountain to Mount Si

July 17, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources is asking outdoors enthusiasts from Issaquah to Snoqualmie and beyond to offer input on recreation planning for the forests stretched between Tiger Mountain and Mount Si.

The agency launched a survey July 9 to collect input about future recreation opportunities on 53,000 acres in natural areas along the so-called Snoqualmie corridor in East King County.

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King County joins regional burn ban as fire risk increases

July 17, 2012

NEW — 9:30 a.m. July 17, 2012

King County joined a regional burn ban Tuesday, after the county fire marshal joined a similar moratorium in Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties.

The ban came as forecasts call for continued dry conditions and the summer fire risk increases. The ban is in place until Sept. 1.

The moratorium applies to to all outdoor burning except for small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved camp grounds or on private property with the owner’s permission.

Under the ban, fires must be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, and not be used as debris disposal. Fires must not grow larger than 3 feet in diameter.

Fires must be located in a clear sport free from any vegetation for at least 10 feet in a horizontal direction, including at least 25 feet from any structure. Fires should have a 20-foot vertical clearance from overhanging branches.

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State launches survey about forest recreation from Tiger Mountain to Mount Si

July 9, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. July 9, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources is asking outdoors enthusiasts from Issaquah to Snoqualmie and beyond to offer input on recreation planning for the forests stretched between Tiger Mountain and Mount Si.

The agency launched a survey Monday to collect input about future recreation opportunities on 53,000 acres in natural areas along the so-called Snoqualmie corridor in East King County. The survey closes July 31.

The survey is the latest effort in the ongoing planning process for the area. In February, officials held a public open house focused on the corridor.

The corridor — a quick jaunt from Seattle and fast-growing Eastside cities — is a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers and more. Combined, the lands in the corridor form the largest network of natural areas in Washington.

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What is the Mountains to Sound Greenway?

June 28, 2012

Like the matter-of-fact name suggests, the Mountains to Sound Greenway starts amid fried fish counters and souvenir shops along the Seattle waterfront, unfurls along Interstate 90, encompassing cities and forests, and continues on, across the Cascades.

The greenbelt represents decades of effort to protect the natural landscape along the interstate, even as Issaquah and other Eastside cities experienced a population explosion in recent years.

Issaquah Alps Trails Club members spearheaded a 1990 march from Snoqualmie Pass to Puget Sound to attract attention to the proposed greenbelt — a sort of Central Park for Western Washington.

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Department of Natural Resources urges Independence Day fire safety

June 28, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 28, 2012

Though rain dominated the early fire season, state Department of Natural Resources officials said a fire risk is still present, and Independence Day revelers should practice fire safety on state lands.

Discharing fireworks is illegal on Tiger Mountain State Forest near Issaquah and all Department of Natural Resources-protected lands. In addition, a burn ban for Tiger Mountain State Forest and other Department of Natural Resources lands goes into effect July 1. The summertime ban runs through Sept. 30.

“The major wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico remind us how destructive they can be to our homes and lives,” state Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said in a statement. “We urge everyone to exercise caution with any fire-related activities this holiday weekend.”

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Eastside Fire & Rescue burn ban starts June 15

June 5, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue is reminding residents about the heightened risk for fires in the drier days ahead.

The agency is due to impose a summer burn ban June 15 for residents in Issaquah, Sammamish and nearby communities. Though a rain-soaked spring may make such a moratorium seem unnecessary, summer brings a heightened risk for fires. The moratorium is in effect through Sept. 30.

For summertime cookouts, propane, natural gas and charcoal fires do not require a burn permit. Other fires require a burn permit from EFR. Call 313-3200.

Fires cannot be larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. Use only dry, seasoned wood to fuel recreational fires.

The flames must be contained inside a barbecue pit, fire ring or a portable fireplace. Importantly, only vegetation can be burned.

Burning to clear land is permanently banned in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Firewise and EFR offer information for homeowners to create defensible spaces around residences at www.firewise.org and www.eastsidefire-rescue.org.

In addition to the EFR moratorium, the state Department of Natural Resources imposes a summer burn ban in Tiger Mountain State Forest and other forestlands July 1. The state ban ends Sept. 30.

Eastside Fire & Rescue summer burn ban starts June 15

June 3, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 3, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue is reminding residents about the heightened risk for fires accompanies in the drier days ahead.

The agency is due to impose a summer burn ban June 15 for residents in Issaquah, Sammamish and nearby communities. Though a rain-soaked spring may make such a moratorium seem unnecessary, summer brings a heightened risk for fires. The moratorium is in effect through Sept. 30.

For summertime cookouts, propane, natural gas and charcoal fires do not require a burn permit.

Fires cannot be larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. Use only dry, seasoned wood to fuel recreational fires.

Read more

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