Statewide burn ban expanded

Restrictions in effect on National Forest lands in county

OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark expanded the statewide burn ban to include all recreational fires and barbecues on state-protected lands, including state parks. The burn ban runs through Sept. 30.

“After a relatively mild summer, we are experiencing a period of critical fire weather on both sides of the Cascades,” said Goldmark. “The greatest fire danger right now comes from carelessness. It’s essential that people understand the risks involved and do not spark any fires.”

The statewide burn ban applies to state forests, state parks and forestlands protected by DNR firefighters. It prohibits all outdoor burning, including campfires in fire pits and the use of charcoal briquettes. Liquid gas or propane camp stoves that do not use solid briquettes and have on/off controls are permitted.

“Our fire crews have been effective so far this season in keeping fires small and getting them out quickly,” said Goldmark. “I ask all Washingtonians to give them a hand by being careful and responsible when working or playing on our iconic landscapes.”

 Campfire Restrictions

Campfire restrictions went into effect on national forest lands in Okanogan County on Friday, Aug. 19. Campfires are allowed only in established campgrounds and congressionally-designated Wilderness Areas. In all other areas, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, including a fire made from briquettes, will be prohibited with certain exceptions. These restrictions are the result of increasing fire danger in national forest areas within three counties.

Certain sites are exempt, such as summer homes under permit. Please visit or call the appropriate ranger station to obtain information on specific campground information and restrictions.

Persons using or maintaining pressurized liquid gas stoves or an enclosed solid fuel fire using a wick are also exempt from this campfire restriction.

Fire managers on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest remind hikers, campers and recreationists to be extremely careful with any use of fire in the outdoors this summer. Humans remain the leading cause of wildfires and escaped campfires top that list on the Okanogan-Wenatchee NF.

“Most often, the issue is an unattended campfire”, said Fire Management Officer Matt Ellis. “Stepping away from the fire for even a few minutes can be viewed as negligence. The other common mistake is leaving before a campfire is completely extinguished. The fire needs to be drowned and the ashes need to be cool.”

Contact these Okanogan-Wenatchee NF offices for more information: Methow Valley Ranger District, 509-996-4000; Omak Visitor Center, 509-486-5145; and Tonasket Ranger District 509-486-2186.