OLYMPIA – With wildfire season already underway, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reminds outdoor recreationists that fireworks are prohibited year-round on all 33 WDFW wildlife areas and 700-plus water access sites.
WDFW Northcentral Region Director Jim Brown noted an 80-acre fire near Lake Wenatchee last weekend, and wildfires in British Columbia earlier this year, have department staff across eastern Washington alert to violations of that rule to avoid fires on agency-managed lands.
Personal camp stoves and lanterns are allowed. Small campfires are currently allowed except on the Wenas, Colockum, LT Murray, Oak Creek, Sunnyside-Snake River and Columbia Basin wildlife areas. The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) serves as the state’s firefighter on forested lands, and other state agencies that manage public lands follow DNR’s lead on burn bans and other fire restrictions often implemented in June or at the beginning of July.
During last year’s drought, fire use restrictions began June 19, a few weeks earlier than usual, to minimize the risk of wildfires.
Outdoor recreationists who use public lands don’t need to wait for such restrictions to help prevent fire. In addition to complying with the year-round fireworks ban, consider these practices now:
- Cook camp meals on small camp stoves and light your camp with battery-operated lanterns.
- If you must have a campfire, keep it small, in the open away from trees, preferably within a metal or stone ring, and put it out cold with water rather than letting it slowly die out through the night.
- Don’t smoke outside of vehicles; even if you think they’re out, don’t toss cigarettes or other smoking materials outside.
- Keep motor vehicles off vegetation and don’t travel off-road.
- Avoid using chainsaws or other equipment that can emit sparks.
For more information about WDFW wildlife areas and public conduct rules, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/public_conduct_rules/index.html More information on current fire danger and burn bans can be found on DNR’s webpage at https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/