Washington issues fire ban on state land • Washington State Standard

Washington issues fire ban on state land • Washington State Standard

A burning ban is in effect on all lands in Washington State.

The state Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday issued a statewide ban on lighting outdoor fires, campfires, the use of charcoal briquettes and controlled fires on its lands. The ban went into effect at 1 p.m. Wednesday and will last until at least Sept. 30, 2024.

The restrictions follow days of hot and dry weather in Western Washington, including Record temperatures in Seattle, Olympia, SeaTac and Bellingham.

There are also several active fires throughout Washington. The largest is the pioneer fire in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest on the east side of Lake Chelan, where more than 12,000 acres had burned as of Wednesday and the fire was 14% contained. The nearby Shoofly Fire west of Lake Wenatchee had burned more than 100 acres as of Wednesday.

The statewide burn ban is critical to reducing the risk of further wildfires, according to the Department of Natural Resources, and applies to all 5.6 million acres the department manages.

“The record temperatures we are experiencing this week have left our state bone dry,” Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz said in a statement.

On Friday, almost all of Washington was still in a drought emergencyafter a drought was declared in April.

A red flag warning has already been issued in much of the central part of the state, meaning that weather conditions may increase the risk of fire, and some Local jurisdictions have already introduced incineration bans.

Fires in the North Cascades also prompted the Department of Ecology to issue its first air quality warning of the year for Chelan County and parts of the Methow Valley.

Authorities urge the public to remain vigilant when outdoors, to check restrictions and conditions before engaging in recreational activities and to ensure that vehicles are properly secured with snow chains to prevent vehicles from dragging along the pavement and creating sparks.

“I ask everyone in Washington to do their part to protect our firefighters and our communities this summer,” Franz said.