Campfires are prohibited on the national forest’s Chelan, Entiat, Wenatchee River, Cle Elum and Naches Ranger Districts. This includes developed campgrounds, wilderness areas, and sites such as group camps and summer homes.
The exceptions are the Tonasket and Methow Valley Ranger Districts where campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds, and the Chelan-Sawtooth and Pasayten Wilderness Areas.
The ban coincides with the start of the general rifle season for deer hunting this weekend. Fire managers hoped to provide flexibility regarding campfires, but continued high fire danger and recent new fires have prompted continuance of the ban.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has extended a statewide burn ban through October 15. The outdoor burning ban applies to all DNR-protected public, private and tribal lands on both sides of the Cascade Range.
Hunters and all members of the public are urged to abide by the campfire ban, and are reminded anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable for suppression costs.
Many of the more than 100 fires burning on the Okanogan-Wenatchee N.F. have been contained, particularly those near populated areas. However, fire managers have not placed many of these fires into a controlled status. The interior of many of these fires continues to burn and emit smoke. Many of them will not be completely extinguished until fall and winter precipitation arrives.
Hunters and other recreationists may also be impacted by Okanogan-Wenatchee N.F. area closures. Forest Service managers implement area closures only when necessary to protect public and firefighter safety. They will lift them as soon as it is deemed safe to enter burned areas. Even contained and controlled fires pose hazards such as falling trees, burning pockets of forest fuels, rolling debris and smoldering underground root wads.
The public is urged to abide by the burn ban and prevent new fires. Federal, state and local firefighters have been actively suppressing more than 100 fires that have burned over 100,000 acres since September 8, when a lightning storm ignited fires from the Columbia River to the Canadian border. More human-caused fires will stretch taxed firefighting resources even more.
Additional campfire restriction and area closure information can be obtained by contacting local Okanogan-Wenatchee N.F. ranger stations or checking the national forest’s website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/okawen/