NBCRightNow.com - It only takes a spark to start a fire. We've heard about several out of control controlled burns over the last couple of weeks, and everyone needs to be careful because wildfire season is here.
Under Washington state law, the season officially begins Tuesday. However, the state Department of Natural Resources has already dealt with 20 forest fires this year.
Just because summer isn't here yet, doesn't mean there isn't a fire risk. The potential for wildfires can change rapidly during the spring - when warmer, dryer weather occurs more often.
"We've already had 8 or 9 natural cover fires, most of those started by homeowners doing a controlled burn, thinking 'it's spring, it's green out, no big deal," and a couple of people have lost structures because they thought, 'it's spring, it's green and it's no big deal," Benton County Fire District #1 spokesperson, Devin Helland, explained.
Washington's summer fire rules are in effect from April 15th through October 15th. The rules apply to the 13 million acres of private and state forest lands, protected by the department.
For what's allowed and not allowed when it comes to burning, click here.