Restrictions are in place prohibiting campfires outside of designated campgrounds and requiring firewood cutters to cease chainsaw use after 1:00 pm. All visitors to Forests are urged to exercise extreme caution with campfires, cigarettes and other sources of ignition as they venture into the woods.
“The weather forecast indicates no break in the weather pattern in the foreseeable future, which means the fire danger is likely to remain very high for at least a couple more weeks,” said Methow Valley District Ranger Mike Liu.
So far this year, firefighters on the Methow Valley Ranger District have responded to four human caused fires. One of those was the Goat fire which grew to 7400 acres before it was contained.
In these conditions it only takes one poor exhaust system, a campfire left smoldering or a cigarette carelessly tossed out the window to cause the kind of devastating wildfires we have witnessed throughout the west this year.
Current fire related restrictions for National Forest Lands in Okanogan County include:
· The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) is a 2 for zone 678W (which includes most of the Methow Valley Ranger District). Firewood cutters are required to maintain a one hour fire-watch after ceasing chainsaw operations at 1:00 pm. They are also required to have a shovel, fire extinguisher and a spark arrestor on chainsaws.
· Campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds and in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth and Pasayten Wilderness. Designated campgrounds are easily recognizable by the large wood entry sign with the campground name and national forest name. They have facilities, including outhouses, tables and fire pits. The campfire closure includes a prohibition against the use of woodstoves and charcoal stoves. Only pressurized gas stoves are allowed outside of designated campgrounds.
For more information about fall recreation on the Methow Valley Ranger District, please call 509-996-4000.