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Pierce County burn ban includes even more

Pierce County is facing one of the most dangerous wildland fire seasons on record and has experienced several brush fires in the past few weeks. The conditions prompted Fire Marshal Wayne Wienholz in cooperation with the Pierce County Fire Chiefs Association to declare a burn-ban upgrade effective immediately.

The existing burn ban, which went into effect July 10, was enhanced to include campfires, recreational fires, field burning and any other type of open burning until further notice. "We appreciate the public's cooperation during these hazardous conditions," he said.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources will continue to allow campfires in established fire pits in approved campgrounds. This would apply to some private campgrounds in Pierce County which are on DNR's approved list.

In addition, some fire districts are conducting door-to-door wildland fire education campaigns in high-risk areas. Citizens can assist local fire departments by completing the following preparedness measures:

€ Remove dead or overhanging branches. During the windy conditions that exist during a wildland fire, flames, sparks and firebrands could travel from the tree to the roof of this structure.

€ Remove leaf accumulation from your yard. Leaf accumulation provides fuel for a wildland fire.

€ Remove leaf clutter from your roof and gutters. During a wildland fire, flying embers could ignite leaves on the roof and/or in the gutters.

€ Remove tall, dry grasses. Tall, dry grasses provide a path for fire that can lead directly to a house.

€ Remove "ladder fuels." Prune tree limbs so the lowest is between six to 10 feet from the ground. Fire burning through tall, dry grass could ignite these limbs and climb to the top of the tree with relative ease.

€ Refuel garden equipment carefully. Yard equipment needs annual maintenance and proper fueling. Hoses develop leaks and deteriorate with age and exposure. During wildland fire season, fuel your lawn mower properly - away from dry, flammable grasses.

€ Prune bushes and shrubs regularly. Remove excess growth as well as dead leaves and branches to decrease their flammability, and the threat they could pose during a wildland fire. Dispose of cuttings and debris promptly, according to local regulations.

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