State Department of Natural Resources bans all campfires on state land

Hot, dry weather expands burn ban through Sept. 30.

OLYMPIA — All campfires are now banned on state-protected lands.

With the arrival this week of hot, dry weather, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark expanded the statewide burn ban effective at noon Wednesday to prohibit all campfires on state Department of Natural Resources lands through Sept. 30.

“After a relatively mild summer, we are entering a period of critical fire weather on both sides of the Cascades,” Goldmark said.

“The greatest fire danger right now comes from carelessness. It’s essential that people understand the risks involved and do not spark any fires.”

High-pressure weather patterns are expected to keep away the marine moisture that normally limits the spread of wildfire.

The ability of Washington’s forests and grasslands to resist wildfire remains weakened after last year’s record drought.

The statewide burn ban applies to state forests, state parks and forest lands protected by DNR firefighters.

It prohibits all outdoor burning, including campfires in fire pits and the use of charcoal briquettes. Liquid or propane camp stoves that do not use solid briquettes and have on/off controls are permitted.

The statewide ban does not include federally owned lands such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges or other areas administered by federal agencies.

However, given the weather, Olympic National Park fire managers are closely monitoring four fires sparked by lightning last month.

DNR reports that this fire season to date, there have been 527 fires on 3,372 acres of DNR land.

By comparison, at this point in 2015, there had been 803 fires burning 319,551 acres. In 2014 by this date, there were 590 fires burning 190,742 acres.

In 2015, a record drought, low snowpack and weeks of hot, dry weather brought Washington’s worst-ever wildfire season, burning more than a million acres across the state.

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