Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Bans Campfires
Campfires are banned in the entire Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, which includes national forest campgrounds and Wilderness areas because of the concern about a wildfire. Forest officials say hot dry weather and worsening fire danger prompted the campfire ban. They say under the ban the use of wood and charcoal campfires is banned; however, you are still able to use pressurized or bottled liquid fuel stoves, lanterns, or heating devices if no flammable material is present within three feet of the device. Wood burning camp stoves are not allowed.
88% of all wildfires last year were human caused
Along with the dry condition of forests and rangelands, fire officials say there's need to reduce the threat of human-caused fires.
"It is very important to reduce the threat of human-caused fires. Public cooperation has been excellent when campfire restrictions have been necessary in the past, and right now that same cooperation is crucial,” says Forest Supervisor Kristin Bail.
"In addition to adhering to restrictions, people who use the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest can help us a great deal simply by being watchful when they are in the woods," Bail says. “The public has traditionally provided an important firefighting resource by reporting suspicious smokes and putting out any abandoned campfires they encountered.”
Fire officials are waiting for clouds and rain before the restrictions are lifted
The Campfire restrictions will be lifted once the fire danger has lessened and the weather brings some much needed soaking rain.
Wood cutting restrictions start on August 15. A press release says woodcutting Zones 687 and 678W "will move to an Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) II, and Zones 684, 675 and 609W will move to level III. Industrial Fire Precaution Level II limits the hours that woodcutting activities can occur. Level III shuts down woodcutting completely. It is best that woodcutters hold off awhile to do their firewood cutting until weather conditions change; please check back for IFPL updates. "