Under the new restrictions, wood and charcoal fires are allowed only in designated Wilderness areas on national forest lands in Kittitas and Yakima Counties.
"Conditions are very dry at lower elevations and are quickly drying out at our middle elevations," said Mike Starkovich, Fire Management Officer for the Yakima River Fire Division.
"With dry weather conditions forecast for the coming weeks, and temperatures expected to remain high, it's critical that we take steps to try and limit the threat of wildfire from other sources where we can," Starkovich said. “Also, firefighters have seen a dramatic increase in abandoned and escaped campfires all summer long, especially in the past week. These restrictions will hopefully reduce the number of responses our firefighters have to make now that campfires are prohibited in on both the Naches and Cle Elum Ranger Districts.”
Below is a brief summary of campfire and woodcutting restrictions:
Campfire Restrictions for National Forest lands in Kittitas and Yakima Counties:
- Effective August 9, only pressurized gas stoves are permitted outside of designated Wilderness. Campfires are allowed only in designated wilderness areas. Please contact the Cle Elum Ranger District office (509-852-1100) and the Naches Ranger District office (509-653-1401) for more information.
Woodcutters need to be aware of the current Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) before cutting firewood from the national forest. Changing weather conditions and increased fire danger have also prompted a change in woodcutting regulations.
On August 9, the IFPL for zone 680 will go to a level 2 and the IFPL for zone 675 will go to a level 3. What this means is that woodcutters must shut down their chainsaws by 1 p.m. and stay in the area for one hour to watch for possible fire starts when cutting firewood in zone 680. In Zone 675, under an IFPL level 3, all woodcutting is prohibited until hazardous fire conditions decrease.