Unprecedented conditions and recent heatwave lead to early fire restrictions at Olympic and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests
Everett, WA, July 2, 2021— Due to the combination of unprecedented conditions, the recent heatwave and the Fourth of July holiday approaching the Olympic and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests are implementing fire restrictions, effective immediately, that will only allow fires in designated areas (linked below). Officials are also reminding the public that all fireworks – sparklers included - are prohibited on all federal public lands, including the Olympic and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests, year-round regardless of weather conditions.
Prior to the recent heatwave, precipitation levels were already below average this year elevating wildfire risk across the western side of Washington state. The record-breaking temperatures felt across the Pacific Northwest this week have resulted in rapid drying, quickly elevating the fire danger across the state to a level not typically seen at this time of year.
"Much of Western Washington is abnormally dry, the recent record-breaking heat wave has exacerbated the situation, and we are still expecting hotter- and drier-than-normal conditions as we continue into the peak of summer,” said Kit Moffitt, Acting Fire Staff Officer for the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
“People often assume parts of Western Washington are not at risk of wildfire,” said Todd Rankin, Fire Management Officer for Olympic Interagency Fire Management. “But even places like the Quinault and Hoh rainforests and beaches along the coast are susceptible too."
By following these safety tips and only having fires in areas where campfires are allowed, visitors can help prevent avoidable wildfires:
1. Let the night sky be your show
Fireworks are illegal on public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service. Violators are subject to a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail and may be held liable for suppression costs. Check local jurisdictions if visiting State, County or City Parks.
2. Keep campfires small
A campfire is less likely to escape control if it is kept small. A large fire may cast hot embers long distances. Add firewood in small amounts as existing material is consumed.
3. Attend your campfire at all times
A campfire left unattended for even a few minutes can grow into a costly, damaging wildfire. Stay with your campfire from start to finish until it is dead out, as required by law. That ensures any escaped sparks or embers can be extinguished quickly.
4. Extinguish all campfires before leaving – even if gone for a short period of time
Bring a shovel and a bucket of water to extinguish any escaped embers. When you are ready to leave, drown all embers with water, stir the coals, and drown again. Repeat until the fire is DEAD out. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.
Call 911 or your local non-emergency line to report illegal use of fireworks or unsafe fire use. Additional campfire and wildfire safety information can be found at www.smokeybear.com.
To view the list of campgrounds where campfires are allowed on the Olympic National Forest visit: https://go.usa.gov/x6sJd
To view the list of campgrounds where campfires are allowed on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest visit: https://go.usa.gov/x6sJV
Campfires Banned in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and Portions of North Cascades National Park
Sedro Woolley, WA– Effective Friday, July 2, campfires or the ignition of wood, briquettes, or any fuel in fire pits, fire pans, and barbeque grills, are banned in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and the area of North Cascades National Park located in Chelan County. This includes all National Park Service lands south and east of Cascade Pass, Park Creek Pass and Rainy Pass as well as the entire Stehekin Valley. Stoves or grills that are solely fueled by liquid petroleum fuels for the purpose of cooking are allowed in all locations.
In the areas of North Cascades National Park unaffected by this ban, campfires are permitted in established fire pits. Check with surrounding agencies and counties for any additional fire restrictions.
Ensure that campfires are out and cold to the touch before leaving the area. Use caution when smoking and do not discard cigarette butts.
Discharging, or using any kind of fireworks, tracer ammunition or other incendiary devices in any location on federal lands is always prohibited.
If smoke or flames are visible, please dial 911 or report at any ranger station.