Fire danger in the Northwest is currently high. During the last several weeks, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest has received little to no moisture. Warming weather trends and ongoing support of wildfires off-forest emphasize the need for extreme caution.
Claire Lavendel, forest supervisor, has issued the following restrictions, which took effect July 25.
Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds, and picnic areas. A campfire fueled by charcoal is considered an open fire.
Smoking is restricted to enclosed vehicles, buildings, and developed or cleared areas.
Pressurized gas camp stoves and lanterns using jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed.
"These are necessary precautions based on continuing dry conditions," Lavendel said.
All visitors to the National Forest should exercise caution. If you travel through the forest, carry a shovel, axe, and bucket. Make sure campfires are dead out, that is, cold to the touch, before leaving them.
Campfire restrictions are also in place for the following agencies: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Olympic National Forest, Mt. Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, and the Olympic National Park.
Campfire restrictions are also in place for lands managed by the Washington state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Northwest Region, DNR South Puget Sound Region, DNR Olympic Region, DNR Southwest Region, and DNR Central Region.
These orders will be effect until further notice in all undeveloped areas of public lands west of the Cascade Mountains.
Managers of these public land agencies are concerned about the continued hot, dry weather conditions, which are increasing the fire danger.
"This is not a normal year," said John Parsons, Fire Management Officer for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. "The danger of wildfire in Western Washington is above normal and higher this summer than it's been in a decade. This could be an especially troublesome fire season on the west slope of the Cascades because of the fuels and terrain. We ask that the public be especially careful while visiting their public lands and to report all fires as soon as possible."
Citations with fines can be imposed on violators who are caught ignoring open campfire restrictions. Persons responsible for starting wildfires in the national forest are subject to payment of fire suppression costs.
Because of similar conditions in other areas of Washington State, outdoor visitors are encouraged to check with state or local fire protection agencies to determine other campfire restrictions.