Continued hot, dry weather and the increasing fire hazard have prompted the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to expand campfire restrictions across the forest.
Effective Friday (June 26), building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or briquette fire is prohibited, except at most designated campgrounds, approved sites, and in certain wilderness areas of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
In Okanogan County, the campfire ban includes national forest lands on the Tonasket and Methow Valley Ranger Districts.
The restrictions prohibit wood and charcoal briquette fires; however, the use of pressurized liquid gas stoves is an acceptable alternative in areas where campfires are prohibited.
Campfires are still being allowed in most wilderness areas because those lands are generally at higher elevations where temperatures are more moderate and moisture retention is greater. Campfires are not allowed in all portions of wilderness areas, though. In the Glacier Peak and Sawtooth wilderness areas, no campfires are allowed within a half-mile of the lakeshore of Lake Chelan.
“This year we are especially concerned due to the unseasonably dry conditions and no snowpack. Right now we are experiencing conditions that normally occur in late July,” said Fire Staff Officer Keith Satterfield. “We very much appreciate the public’s understanding and cooperation as added restrictions have become necessary to reduce the threat of wildfires.”