Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Forest Service imposes fire restrictions in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest as dry conditions persist


WENATCHEE - The U.S. Forest Service has implemented Stage 1 Fire Restrictions across the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, effective immediately. The decision comes as prolonged warm weather continues to dry out forest fuels, elevating fire danger in the region.

Under the new restrictions, campfires are now permitted only in designated, developed recreation sites and select Wilderness areas within the forest. The move aims to mitigate the risk of human-caused wildfires amid increasing fire activity both locally and nationally.

Forest officials have prohibited several activities under the Stage 1 restrictions, including building or maintaining fires outside of established Forest Service fire rings or grills in designated campgrounds. Smoking is restricted to enclosed vehicles, buildings, designated campgrounds, or cleared areas at least three feet in diameter.

The use of motor vehicles off National Forest System Roads and Trails is also limited, with exceptions for minimal travel over bare mineral soil to access dispersed camping sites. Additionally, any violation of state laws concerning burning or fire prevention is prohibited.

While these restrictions are in place, certain activities remain permissible. Campfires are still allowed within established fire rings at designated recreation sites and in specific Wilderness areas. The use of pressurized or bottled liquid fuel stoves, lanterns, and heating devices is permitted in areas cleared of flammable materials.

Forest Service officials stress that fireworks are permanently banned on all National Forest System lands, regardless of current fire restrictions.

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, which spans nearly 4 million acres along the east slopes of the Cascade Range, has experienced increasingly dry conditions. These restrictions are part of ongoing efforts to protect the forest and surrounding communities from the threat of wildfires during the high-risk summer months.

Forest visitors are urged to stay informed about current restrictions and exercise caution when engaging in any fire-related activities within the forest boundaries.


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