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DNR: WILDFIRES BLACKEN NEARLY 10,000 ACRES THIS YEAR IN WASHINGTON; FIRE STARTS ARE LOWEST IN FOUR YEARS, BUT HOMES AND PROPERTY STILL LOST

 OLYMPIA, Wash., Dec. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington experienced a mild 1992 fire season despite severe drought conditions on much of the state's forest and rangeland, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said today. DNR, which protects 12 million acres of private and state forest land, this year recorded 1,081 fires and 9,943 acres burned.
 "The state was fortunate in the 1992 fire season," said Commissioner of Public Lands Brian Boyle. "The DNR had the fewest fire starts since 1988, and the acres burned were substantially below the average of the five most recent fire seasons. These relatively small fire losses occurred despite a severe drought which gripped the state during the late spring and summer.
 "Yet even this relatively mild fire season included a state fire mobilization to protect the town of Goldendale and the loss of 21 homes to a September wildfire in the city of Wenatchee," Boyle said.
 Humans were responsible for 87 percent of the fires reported this year to DNR, while lightning accounted for 13 percent.
 This year's leading fire cause was debris burns, which amounted to 28 percent of the fires reported to DNR. "People continue to not pay attention to permit requirements and fire safety warnings and fail to control their small forest debris fires," said Boyle.
 Another trend in the 1992 fire season: the large number of fires started by campfires, smokers and children playing with fire, he said. These three causes were responsible for more than one quarter of all the fires reported this year to DNR -- despite long-standing warnings and public education about their fire hazard potential.
 -0- 12/28/92
 /CONTACT: Robert Harper of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, 206-902-1022/


CO: Washington State Department of Natural Resources ST: Washington IN: SU:

TB-LM -- SE001 -- 0046 12/28/92 12:02 EST
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Date:Dec 28, 1992
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