Peninsula burn bans ease, except in Jefferson County

Jefferson County now has the most restrictive burn ban on the North Olympic Peninsula after Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest canceled fire restrictions while the state Department of Natural Resources and Clallam County lightened limits on campfires.

Jefferson County continues its ban on all ground-level fires.

“We will probably stay in our current status until the end of the burn ban on Sept. 30,” said Bill Beezley, public information officer for East Jefferson Fire-Rescue.

“We still allow fires in barbecue grills. We do not allow fires at ground level.

“I anticipate the ban to be lifted effective Oct. 1.”

On Tuesday, the state Department of Natural Resources reduced the fire rating for Clallam and Jefferson counties from very high to moderate.

Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest have lifted all fire restrictions put into effect Sept. 1 because of a warm, dry summer and moderate drought conditions.

Restrictions included a ban on campfires outside of developed campgrounds.

“Rainfall amounts since Sept. 17 on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula are over an inch with amounts of 0.20 inches or more on the east side of the peninsula,” according to a news release from the National Park Service.

“Periods of rain are expected throughout the week with snow levels dropping to 5,000 feet as well.”

As of Wednesday, campfires are allowed in approved firepits in designated campgrounds on state lands protected by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Because forests and range lands remain dry from the summer’s low precipitation totals, other forms of outdoor burning, such as debris burning, remain prohibited under the burn ban ordered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

“We’re thankful to have rain help wet our landscapes, but as we saw with a quick-moving fire east of Ellensburg [on] Sunday evening, we’re not out of fire season quite yet,” Franz said in a news release.

“I urge everyone to check with their local authorities before lighting campfires.”

Annette Warren, Clallam County fire marshal, downgraded the county burn ban Tuesday.

The burn ban has been modified to permit campfires in established fire rings on private property and in campgrounds.

“Weather conditions have slightly eased the fire danger in Western Washington,” the Clallam County news release said.

“The burn restrictions will remain in effect until Oct. 1.”

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