Campfire restrictions are now in effect on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, as of July 28.
Campfires will be allowed only in designated developed campgrounds and designated wilderness areas (except in those wilderness areas where campfires are never allowed). In all other areas, including dispersed camping areas, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, including a fire made from briquettes, will be prohibited.
“With the current heatwave drying out forest fuels, it is prudent to put these campfire restrictions into effect now,” said Forest Supervisor Kristin Bail.
Fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices, including exploding targets, are illegal year-round in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Most designated or developed campgrounds are exempt from this order, as are some other special sites such as group camps and summer homes under permit. Visit or call the Methow Valley Ranger District in Winthrop, (509) 996-4000, for information on specific campground restrictions.
Persons may continue to use pressurized or bottled liquid fuel stoves, lanterns, or heating devices, provided such devices are used in areas that are barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable material within 3 feet of the device and meet the fire underwriter’s specifications for safety.
If planning to have a campfire:
- Make sure campfires are allowed in the area camping will occur. Check the forest website for information on where campfires are permitted now that restrictions are in effect.
- In developed campgrounds, use an existing fire ring. In wilderness areas where campfires are still allowed, construct a fire ring out of rocks or use a camp stove instead.
- Clear all vegetation within 3 feet from the fire ring and don’t build a campfire underneath low hanging tree branches.
- Keep water and a shovel nearby.
When extinguishing a campfire:
- Drown it with water.
- Stir the embers to ensure everything is wet.
- Repeat use of water and stirring until no heat is present.
- Feel the coals and embers, they should be cool to the touch. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
- When done, take an extra minute and add more water.