Hold your fire: Burning banned

Pierce County became part of a statewide burn ban Monday as authorities continued to brace for a high-risk wildfire season The Pierce County fire marshal has declared a countywide burn ban until further notice.-áDry weather and forecasts calling for continued dry heat prompted the ban, which was issued jointly with the Pierce County Fire Chiefs' Association and the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The indefinite ban applies to all outdoor burning except for small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or private property with the owner's permission. The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and grills is allowed under the ban. Holders of DNR-issued burn permits should call 1-800-323-BURN for more information, officials said. Fireworks are still permitted for the upcoming July 4th holiday, but fire officials are reminding the public to use them safely in order to minimize the potential for accidental fires.-á With heat and drought rapidly increasing fire danger in western Washington, the expanded its burn ban in eastern Washington to include west of the Cascades. The ban is scheduled to run through Sept. 30. "Westside forests are drying out, and the outlook is for continued warm, dry weather,GÇ¥ said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, who heads DNR. "These conditions make it clear it's time for a statewide burn ban.GÇ¥ The state ban applies to state-owned forests, state parks and forestland under DNR fire protection. It doesn't include federal land such as national forests and Mount Rainier National Park. Fires aren't the only hazard getting weather-related attention. As forecasts indicate temperatures climbing into the 80s this weekend, the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management is reminding residents to stay out of the heat as much as possible and to stay hydrated. Vulnerable residents and those seeking relief are encouraged to take advantage of cooler air in public buildings such as public libraries, indoor shopping malls and other large stores, and movie theaters.


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