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Is Washington's fire season over? DNR explains why not

Although some may be seeing rain, the fire danger isn't over. Fire season got a late start this year and, unfortunately, it will have a late end.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash — The Inland Northwest finally got some much needed rain, but it was not enough to consider it the end of fire season. The Department of Natural Resources said it may continue for months. 

"It's kind of a false sense of security that we have a little bit," said DNR Public Information Officer Isabelle Hoygaard. "We got some rain, so people think that we're out of fire season or stuff like that."

We cannot let our guard down just yet, she said. 

Eastern Washington typically sees larger fires start at the end of June. This year had large fires start in August and all through September, and now potentially October. 

"We got this high pressure coming in next week with warm temperatures, so these fuels that we have out there are gonna dry right back out," she added. "We're gonna get right back into high fire danger, basically, again next week."

That’s right - DNR is preparing for more fires to happen next week. 

Heading into fall, people want to huddle up around a bonfire with family and friends, but the burn ban is still in affect in Spokane County.   

"We just have to wait until our weather starts changing till we start having [outdoor fires]," she said. "Either it's late enough in the season to where we're getting high enough relative humidities, and the fuels aren't going to burn very well anymore, or we start getting that rainfall back in that's going to prevent any large fire spread anymore."

So the question everyone is wondering: when will fire season end?

Credit: Shari Brantner-Marcial

"For this year? I think it's really hard to say," she said. "If something really extreme happens, we might be pushed into early November. But usually by the end of October, we're usually getting out of fire season."

The DNR is asking for the public to follow the burn ban so our fire season is not intensified, especially since it is on going and conditions will be hazardous this week. 

Breaking the burn ban is illegal and anyone caught burning may be issued a ticket or prosecuted. DNR may also pursue civil actions. 

All debris burning on DNR jurisdiction is prohibited. This includes rule burning and permit burning. Campfires on DNR protected lands are not allowed. Contact the county for information on recreation burning and debris burning on improved property.