Even before the record heat of the past weekend, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) imposed burn restrictions and increased fire danger ratings in Okanogan County.
The higher fire danger, imposed as of June 3, means that a permit is required for all burning of brush and natural vegetation — even for smaller piles that meet DNR’s rules for burning when conditions are not as dry.
People can still have campfires in a campfire pit in designated, approved campgrounds. A permit is required from DNR for all other burning. These permits are for piled forest material, not debris from land-clearing. The permits start at $105.50.
Okanogan County Fire District 6 reminds people to completely extinguish all campfires. The fire district, DNR and the U.S. Forest Service all responded last week (June 1) to a wildland fire beyond Falls Creek campground that was caused by an unattended campfire, according to the fire district. The fire burned 1,000 square feet.
DNR notes that human activities are the leading cause of wildfires.
DNR’s order raises the fire danger from low to moderate in Okanogan County, in Spokane County, and in parts of Lincoln and Stevens counties.
Although the fire-danger rating has increased, the county and state have not imposed overall burn bans.
Daily updates on burn restrictions are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on DNR’s website at www.dnr.wa.gov/OutdoorBurning, where there is also information about obtaining a permit.
DNR urges property owners to reduce fire risk to their homes and land by keeping dead vegetation off roofs and away from buildings. Keeping trees and bushes near buildings healthy and trimmed can also reduce risk.
The fire district recommends removing dead vegetation near the house and then working out from there to reduce the pathways a fire could travel. The district offers free, on-site assessments of fire risk. Call 997-2981.