Okanogan Wenatchee Forest Personnel Concerned About Illegal Campfires
There's concern about continued illegal campfires taking place in the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest.
The ban has been in place since August 11 because of the hot, dry weather and increasingly dangerous conditions for fires.
Robin DeMario with the National Forest says department personnel are out every day and late into the night finding illegal campfires.
"We have fire prevention personnel, and also our firefighters in their engines are being called out because people are having illegal campfires in the national forest," said DeMario. "And so, we just want to stress to everyone there is a campfire ban."
Enforcement personnel with the National Forest have the power to issue a citation for illegal campfires with a fine of $100 plus court costs.
The citation can be issued for building, attending, maintaining, or using a campfire.
DeMario says the department looks for illegal campfires and gets tips about them from the public.
"It's a little bit of both," DeMario. "We'll get reports from the public stating that there's someone with a campfire. Or we have our fire prevention folks who are out in the woods, and they'll come across someone, maybe, having a campfire, then share with them the information about the ban."
Fines are much higher for having a campfire near an existing wildfire.
The fine for holding one near the current White River and Irving Peak fires northwest of Plain is up to $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a group of people.
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 are still be able to use many stoves, lanterns and heating devices
The campfire ban is part of Stage Two Restrictions the Forest Service enacted Aug. 11.