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42 wildfires in Northweastern Washington

Crews using 19,075 bottles of water

As of Friday, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was responding to more than 42 fire incidents in Northeastern Washington.

These fires include those in state and federal jurisdictions. The more than 200 firefighters, aided by 36 fire engines and five helicopters, deployed in response have kept all of the fires under 10 acres in size, and most were under two acres.

DNR fire officials warn that the entire state will see dangerous fire conditions this week.

"This next seven days will be some of the highest fire danger levels we've seen in recent years, for the Westside as well as the Eastside," said Mark Gray, acting assistant division manager of DNR Fire Control, Aviation and Camps.

Nineteen Washington counties have fire hazard levels rated as "high" to "extreme" due to dry weather and low moisture levels in grasses, trees, and other vegetation.

Klickitat County has a "high" rating and Skamania County is listed at "moderate."

DNR urges people to help prevent wildfires. Wildfires, even those that do not damage structures or cause evacuations, are costly to state resources. So far, this year, resources used by DNR include more than:

45 helicopter missions

255 flight hours logged

2,250 buckets from helicopters dropped 506,250 gallons of water on fires

7,680 bottles of Gatorade consumed by fire crews

19,075 bottles of water consumed by fire crews

Because the weather is warming up and vegetation is drying out, fires can ignite quickly. Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark encourages the public to help prevent wildfires.

Outdoor safety

Be sure recreational vehicles have operating spark arresters;

Do not park any vehicles in dry, grassy areas, as the heat from exhaust systems can ignite the dry grass;

Never leave a campfire unattended, and be sure it is completely out before leaving;

Home safety

Do an exterior home inspection;

Remove moss and needles from the roof and rain gutters;

Clear vegetation and flammable materials from around propane tanks;

Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from the house;

Keep decorative bark and railroad ties away from the foundation -- these types of materials provide great places for sparks to smolder;

Trim tree branches to ten feet off the ground for tall trees and adjust for shorter trees; this helps reduce fuels that aid in fire traveling;

Maintain defensible space around the home, which is the large, open area firefighters use to defend homes during a wildfire event.


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