BLM issues Fire Restrictions Order in Eastern Washington

Submitted by Jeff Clark

BLM Spokane District

BLM LogoSPOKANE –The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Spokane District is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive. Because of this the district has issued a fire restrictions order on public lands administered by the BLM in eastern Washington.

The order is effective July 17, 2018 at 12:01 a.m. in the following counties: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima.

Caution is advised at all times when operating motor vehicles on roads or trails with vegetation or high grasses and due to fire hazard risk the public is asked not to bring fireworks or exploding targets onto public lands at any time. The public is also asked to ensure that any campfires are completely extinguished and cold before departure from a camping area.

Target shooting with the use of exploding targets (including Tannerite) is prohibited. Target shooters who start wildfires may be responsible for the cost of fire suppression. Wildfires caused by recreational target shooting in dry grasses have steadily increased on the Spokane District over the last few years. The easiest ways to prevent these fires from starting is to ensure your target area (at least 20 feet around the target) is free of dry vegetation, minimize the use of ammunition containing steel and avoid shooting under hot, dry and windy conditions.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  • Target shooting with the use of exploding targets (including Tannerite) is prohibited. Target shooters who start wildfires may be responsible for the cost of fire suppression.
  • Operating any type of motorized vehicle off developed roadways. Parking of vehicles off roadways must be done in an area barren of flammable materials.
  • Developed roadways are those that are clear of flammable debris berm to berm. When operating a motorized vehicle on public lands, you must carry a shovel at least 26 inches in length with at least an eight-inch blade, and either a one-gallon container of water or a fully charged 2.5 pound fire extinguisher. All motorcycles and All-Terrain Vehicles must be equipped with a properly functioning U.S. Forest Service approved spark arrestor.
  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove tire, including charcoal briquette fire. Exception: Campfires (including charcoal briquette fire) within BLM-provided steel rings at improved campgrounds will be deemed legal only at the Yakima River Canyon, Coffeepot, Chopaka, Washburn, Pacific Lake and Twin Lakes sites. Liberty Campground will follow USFS restriction levels. Liquefied and bottled gas stoves and heaters are permitted provided they are used within an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared ofall flammable material.
  • Smoking while traveling in timber, brush or grass areas, except in vehicles on roads, or cleared areas at least 3 feet in diameter, or on boats on rivers and or lakes.

The following persons are exempt from this order:

  • Persons with a permit that specifically authorized the otherwise prohibited act or omission.
  • Any federal, state or local officer or a member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

The following acts are prohibited:

  • Cause a fire, other than a campfire;
  • Fire a tracer or incendiary device (including fireworks);
  • Leave a fire without extinguishing it, except to report it if it has spread beyond control;
  • Enter an area which is closed by a fire prevention order; or
  • Perform any act restricted by this fire prevention order.

Please use caution when target shooting and refrain from shooting in hot, dry and/or windy conditions. It is recommended all target shooters carry a fire extinguisher and/or shovel in the event ofan unintentional fire start. Any person who knowingly and willfully violates these regulations, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment of not more than 12 months, or both (43 CFR 9212.4).