Yakima Campers Your Campfire Could Start a Wildfire
The camping season is underway and next month the state's wildfire season will get underway. Officials with the the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging everyone to start thinking about fire safety and using extra caution when camping. They say in 2021 more than 1,800 wildfires were reported in Washington State, burning over 674,000 acres according to the Northwest Coordination Center.
The fire forecast calls for a dry summer with a potential for a big wildfire
What's the forecast call for? The National Interagency Fire Center along with the National Weather Service forecasts both below average precipitation and above average temperatures for Washington State this year with warmer and dryer conditions increasing throughout the spring and summer. A press release says every year 85% of all wildfires are human-caused and each year escaped campfires are the main cause of the fires.
Campers are urged to take precautions before, during, and after any intended use of campfires.
The State Fire Marshal's Office has these recommendations;
· Before setting up a campfire check with your local fire official to make sure it is allowed.
· If allowed, campfires need to be at least 25 feet (8 meters) away from any structure and anything that may burn.
· Clear away dry leaves, sticks, overhanging low branches, and shrubs within at least 10 feet (3 meters) of the campfire.
· Avoid burning on windy and dry days as it is easier for open burning to spread out of control when it is windy or dry.
· Attend campfires at all times and supervise children and pets while the campfire is burning. It is a good idea to make a 3-foot “kid-free-zone” around the campfire.
· Keep campfires small, as this makes them easier to control.
· Never use gasoline or other flammable and combustible liquids.
· Always have a bucket of water, or a shovel with dirt or sand nearby to put out the fire. Make sure to completely extinguish the fire before leaving the site. Apply water to all coals or remaining flames. Stir with a stick and pour on more water. Observe that there is no heat, glow, or flame remaining.
· If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop, and roll. Stop, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands. Roll back and forth until the fire is out.
· Treat any burns right away. Cool the burn with cold water for 3-5 minutes and then cover with a clean, dry cloth. Make sure to get medical help if needed.