Putting fires dead out, Part II

April 25, 2012 by  

YAKIMA, Wash. — We’re in the middle of Washington state’s “Wildfire Awareness Week” — which actually lasts 16 days, through May 6. That’s way too easy a set-up not to crack wise about it: We’re a little slow on the uptake in Washington, we need the extra time to get it right.

Well, apparently we do.  Even on something as seemingly simple as putting out our campfires — COMPLETELY — before we head into our tents for the night or back home at the end of our camping trip.

 Over the past four years, campers neglecting to do just that have caused nearly 700 wildfires on Department of Natural Resources-protected lands in Washington state. Think about that: Nearly 200 wildfires a year, in this state alone, caused by negligent campers. Another 100 campfires were left burning might well have turned into wildfires but they were reported and put out before they caused any damage.

And all because people were too lazy or too forgetful to do something little kids learn (thanks to Smokey Bear) before they’re out of the second grade: If what’s left of the campfire that you think you’ve extinguished is too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. It’s not out.

there have been nearly 700 wildfires that resulted from negligent campers leaving their fire pits smoldering and unattended. Another 100 campers left campfires burning without first making sure they were fully extinguished. Fortunately, those were reported and put out before they escaped.

The DNR will be at the Ahtanum Campground this Sunday morning and early afternoon to help educate early-season campers about campfire safety. Apparently, a lot of still need to listen up.

- Scott Sandsberry

Filed under Blogs, Out There, Outdoors

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