NCW — Hot, dry conditions and the threat of new fires from lightning storms this week have prompted new burning restrictions.
Campfires are now banned at all Washington State parks, and on all state and private land protected by the state Department of Natural Resources, even in campgrounds.
The bans are statewide. The DNR ban remains in effect through Sept. 30, and the ban at state parks is in place until further notice.
They prohibit all open burning, including campfires.
“The risk of wildfire is unusually high and the consequences could be catastrophic,” Peter Goldmark, the Commissioner of Public Lands, said in a prepared statement. “We have hundreds of firefighters fighting two major wildfires and numerous smaller fires in Washington State. Our resources are stretched thin.”
Campers are permitted to use liquid gas or propane stoves propane or pressurized white gas warming devices with a shield or base; and solid fuel citronella or other candles in a metal bucket or glass container.
The ban adds to restrictions already in place.
Countywide burn bans are already in effect for all private lands in Douglas and Okanogan counties. No county bans are in place in Chelan or Grant counties, but check with local fire districts before any open burning.
On the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, campfires are only allowed in developed campgrounds, some group camps or summer homes under permit, and wilderness areas, except where campfires are always prohibited.
That restriction is in place only for Forest Service districts in Chelan and Kittitas counties.
Due to the many jurisdictions, burning bans can be confusing.
“Wherever you go, you need to check before you have any fires,” said DNR spokeswoman Janet Pearce.
Residents and visitors should also adhere to basic fire prevention rules, such as making sure recreational vehicles have operating spark arresters, and refraining from parking in dry grassy areas where heat from exhaust systems can ignite a fire.
It’s also illegal to use fireworks or incendiary ammunition or exploding targets on DNR-protected land, or the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.