The Washington state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Friday (April 16) that temporary burn restrictions go into effect this week for four regions in the state — the South Puget Sound, the Northwest, Pacific Cascade and Northeast regions.
Okanogan County is in the Northeast Region, where small debris burns are not being allowed for the next week, while permit burns, or larger fires requiring a DNR permit, are still allowed.
“Fire season is upon us, and we’re asking the public to not take any chances,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz in a statement. “Strong winds and dry weather leave us vulnerable to fast-spreading wildfires, and we cannot protect our firefighters, forests and communities without the public’s help. We need everyone to avoid starting an outdoor fire and, if they do, to fully extinguish it and have a hose ready if the fire escapes outside the burn area.”
Firefighters responded to nearly 40 fires in a three-day period, several caused by outdoor debris burning, according to the DNR.
The DNR plans to lift restrictions after spring rains hit. People who burn in spite of the order are liable for a misdemeanor citation and could be billed for fire suppression costs if their fire gets out of control.