OLYMPIA – Regardless of the wet, rainy spring, wildfire season officially begins April 15, as specified by state law. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to remind people that the risk of wildfires can change rapidly during the spring when warmer, dryer weather occurs with increasing frequency. Wildfires can damage natural resources, destroy homes, and threaten the safety of the public and the firefighters who protect forests and communities. As of April 8, seventeen forest fires have already been reported this year on lands protected by DNR. During last year, a total of 794 fires burned approximately 68,347 acres. In 2012, 94 percent of the wildfires that burned on DNR-protected lands were contained to less than 10 acres in size. Overall, 79 percent of the wildfires on DNR-protected lands in 2012 were human-caused. DNR wants to remind people to take appropriate action to prevent wildfires and protect property before the vegetation dries out and fire risk increases.

This year, DNR is encouraging homeowners, land managers, first responders, developers, business owners, and civic leaders to focus on “Knowing Your Role” when it comes to preparing communities for wildfire. Visit http://fireadapted.org/ to learn more about defensible space, fire-resilient building construction, community wildfire prevention planning, the Firewise Program, and Ready, Set, Go!