PORT ANGELES — Campfires in Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest are now restricted to those in metal rings at the designated sites, campgrounds or picnic area.
Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest implemented the campfire restriction at midnight Wednesday because of very dry conditions, according to a press release issued Thursday. The restriction includes the coastal areas of Olympic National Park.
Gas or propane camp stoves may still be used in the wilderness backcountry and campgrounds, but should be operated well away from flammable vegetation and forest litter.
“Extreme caution is urged with any open flame,” the release said.
The move to Phase 1 fire restrictions is due to dry conditions that are expected to continue, the need to align with state and county campfire restrictions, the current commitment of firefighting resources battling numerous wildfires around the nation; and the strain any new uncontrolled fires would place on these resources, the release said.
Both the Northwest region and the nation remain at a Preparedness Level 3. The majority of firefighting resources are already deployed due to the large amount of wildland fire activity throughout the country.
Prior to the recent heatwave, precipitation levels were already below average this year, elevating wildfire risk across the western side of Washington state, the release said.
“The recent record-breaking temperatures felt across the Pacific Northwest have resulted in more rapid drying, quickly elevating the fire danger across the state to a level not typically seen at this time of year,” the release said.
“The safety of our firefighters and the public are top priority.”
The public is urged to be aware of the high fire danger and take precautions to ensure fire safety.