State Fire Marshal’s Office urges residents to be cautious during yardwork

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The State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging residents to use extra caution when doing yard work as part of Wildfire Awareness Month.

More than 1,500 wildfires were reported in 2020, and according to the Northwest Coordination Center, nearly 95 percent of those fires started because of human factors.

A news release stated residents should take extra precautions when doing yard work or brush clearing to help prevent wildfires. Those include:

• Maintaining power equipment to prevent sparks that could ignite dry grass when using  mowers, power saws or weed trimmers.

• Check with local authorities in the area to see if there are any burn restrictions before starting an outdoor fire.

• If burning is allowed, people should avoid burning on windy, dry days because embers from open burning can ignite dry grass or nearby structures.

• People should never use gasoline or other flammable liquids to start a fire.

• Burn piles should be kept at least 50 feet from flammable materials, which includes fencing, structures or lumber piles.

• People should never burn plastic, construction debris, treated lumber, tires, pesticides, paint or aerosol containers because the items contain toxins that can be harmful to people, animals and the environment when burned.

• Children should be supervised around any fire, especially ones that are outdoors. People are encouraged to keep a 3-foot “kid-free” zone around all fires.

• Yard debris fires should be kept small, manageable and easy to control.

• Fires should never be left unattended even if it’s for a short period of time.

• People should make sure the fire is completely extinguished when they are done burning. Fires should be doused with water, stirred with a shovel and then doused with more water.

For more information, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 360-596-3929.

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