Because of wildfire danger, campfires are banned in all Washington state parks until further notice, the Washington State Parks Commission announced Wednesday morning, and more restrictions are on the way for national forests.
Use of charcoal briquettes is also prohibited in state parks.
Campers will be allowed to use devices that allow for control of combustion, including propane and liquid gas stoves appropriate for camping and backcountry use; propane barbecue devices that do not use solid briquettes; propane or pressurized white gas warming devices that have a shield or base; and solid fuel citronella or other candles in a metal bucket or glass container.
State parks are following the lead of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which Tuesday prohibited all outdoor burning on lands protected by DNR. That agency has fire protection responsibility on approximately 50 percent of state park lands. The State Parks ban on open fires and campfires in all state parks is intended to minimize public confusion and cooperate in DNR’s effort to prevent wildfires.
DNR has said that significant demands are being placed upon fire-suppression resources from regional and statewide firefighting efforts. Wildfires are often ignited by lightning, but most fires are caused by human activities, including carelessly tended outdoor fires, the state parks announcement reported.
On federal lands, where campfires have generally been restricted to developed campgrounds, more restrictions are coming this weekend, including:
- No campfires or use of briquettes in Naches Ranger District of Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest except in wilderness areas, including William O. Douglas, Goat Rocks and Norse Peak. Stoves using liquid gas or compressed liquid gas such as propane will be allowed.
- In Cle Elum Ranger District, campfires will be allowed only in these developed campgrounds: Salmon La Sac, Cayuse, Cle Elum River, Kachess, Mineral Springs, Taneum and Wish Poosh. No change on restrictions in Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
“We’re going to the next level” of restrictions, Matt Castle, a deputy on the fire staff for the national forest, said Wednesday. Restrictions aren’t as severe as on state lands because many national forest campsites are at higher elevations and are not as dry, he said.