Thursday, September 21, 2017/lk
WENATCHEE Several land management agencies have eased campfire and burning restrictions on public lands.
Effective Sept. 20, campfire restrictions have been reduced on Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest lands in Chelan, Kittitas and Yakima counties. Campfire restrictions remain in effect for national forest lands in Okanogan County, where less rain has been received than in the others.
For the three counties covered, forest visitors can once again enjoy campfires in designated campgrounds, certain wilderness areas, summer homes under special use permit and some other sites such as group camps and resorts, forest officials said.
A complete list of current restrictions is available at https://go.usa.gov/xRJcU, while information about designated campgrounds is available at https://go.usa.gov/xRJcP.
Forest visitors should use an established fire pit or campfire ring in campgrounds, clear flammable materials from around the pit, keep the fire small, and make sure it is dead out and cold to the touch before leaving.
The state Department of Natural Resources has lifted restrictions on recreational campfires and is allowing them in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds within land protected by the agency.
Because forests and rangelands remain dry from the summer’s low precipitation totals, other forms of outdoor burning, such as debris burning, remain prohibited under the burn ban ordered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.
“We’re thankful to have rain help wet our landscapes, but as we saw with a quick-moving fire east of Ellensburg Sunday evening, we’re not out of fire season quite yet,” said Franz. “I urge everyone to check with their local authorities before lighting campfires.”
Information on burn restrictions is available at 800-323-BURN or www.dnr.wa.gov/burn-restrictions.
More than 90 percent of Washington’s wildfires this year have been human-caused. As of Sept. 19, DNR had responded to 745 wildfires this year.
Meanwhile, the burn ban on lands in Skagit and Whatcom counties within North Cascades National Park Service Complex has been lifted.
That includes all National Park Service lands and campgrounds along Highway 20, the Ross Lake area west of Rainy Pass, and north of Park Creek and Cascade passes.
A burn ban remains in effect for Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and the area of North Cascades National Park in Chelan County. That includes campfires or the ignition of wood, briquettes, or any fuel in fire pits, fire pans and barbecue grills.
Stoves or grills fueled solely by liquid petroleum fuels are allowed in all locations.
Fire managers are lifting fire restrictions and firewood cutting restrictions that have been in place in the Colville National Forest since July 17.
Rain and cooler temperatures were cited. Restrictions are being lifted as of today, Sept. 21.
Industrial fire precaution levels will be lifted at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 23.
Forest visitors must still use caution and exercise sound fire precautions within the forest, officials said.
Burn bans remain in effect in Okanogan and Ferry counties, and in many cities, including Omak and Okanogan.