OLYMPIA - With unusually dry conditions and wildfires burning in parts of the state, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is prohibiting campfires and other activities on all agency-managed lands.
The emergency order now in effect prohibits:
- Fires or campfires: However, personal camp stoves or lanterns fueled by liquid petroleum, liquid petroleum gas or propane are allowed.
- Smoking: Unless in an enclosed vehicle.
- Target shooting: Except at shooting ranges developed by WDFW.
- Welding and the use of chainsaws and other equipment: Operating a torch with an open flame and equipment powered by an internal combustion engine is prohibited.
- Operating a motor vehicle off developed roads: Except when parking in areas without vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway and parking in developed campgrounds and at trailheads.
Bruce Bjork, chief of WDFW’s enforcement program, said these restrictions are part of a larger effort by state, local and federal agencies to reduce the risk of further wildfires in Washington. That effort includes burn bans issued by most counties and for all forestlands protected by the state Department of Natural Resources.
“Firefighting crews are stretched thin with numerous wildfires burning in eastern Washington,” Bjork said. “So it’s important that everyone take every possible precaution to avoid sparking another wildfire.”
The restrictions on WDFW-managed lands will remain in effect until conditions improve and the risk of wildfires decreases, Bjork said. Any updates will be posted on WDFW’s website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/).
Before recreating on public or private lands, hunters and others should check with the appropriate landowner for any restrictions, Bjork said.
For more information on fires currently burning in Washington, visit the websites for the state Incident Information System (http://www.inciweb.org/state/49/), the state Department of Natural Resources (http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Pages/default.aspx) and the U.S. Forest Service (http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/okawen/home).