Campfire Ban Put In Place For Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest
A ban on campfires is now in place in the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest.
The ban, which includes a number of other activities, is being imposed because of continuing hot, dry weather and increasingly dangerous conditions for fires.
National Forest spokesperson Robin DeMario says there's no set date for when the restrictions will be lifted.
"These campfire and other fire restrictions will be lifted once the fire danger has lessened and the weather brings some much-needed soaking rain," said DeMario. "So it's up to Mother Nature as to when we're going to get that rain which will effectively end this fire restriction."
The campfire ban is not imposed every year although it did go into effect last summer.
The restriction prohibits the use of wood and charcoal campfires, but people will still be able to use many stoves, lanterns and heating devices.
"Something you can turn off and turn on by a switch, those are OK , because if you need to, you can immediately turn it off and there's no more flame," DeMario said. " There's no more heat. There's nothing left to be burning or smoldering."
The campfire ban is part of Stage Two Restrictions the Forest Service enacted Thursday.
It also prohibits the use of fireworks and bars people from smoking outside. In addition, it prohibits the driving of cars off of National Forest roads and trails because of the heat generated by catalytic converters. Firing a gun is also banned unless it's being used during a legal hunt,
Penalties for breaking the Stage Two restrictions include a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison term of up to six months.