Okanogan-Wenatchee Area Stage 1 Outbreak Restriction Policy
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Okanogan-Wenatchee Area Stage 1 Outbreak Restriction Policy

That doesn’t mean temperatures at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit are expected this week and forest fuel is as dry as kindling, but there are new restrictions on lighting fires in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

The USFS announced that from now on, campfires will only be allowed in designated, developed recreation areas and some designated wilderness areas in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Recent warm days are forecast to continue, rapidly drying out forest fuels and increasing the fire threat. Stage 1 fire restrictions have been implemented to reduce the risk of campfires and other human-caused fires spreading.

Okanogan-Wenatchee Area Stage 1 Outbreak Restriction Policy

In accordance with Stage 1 fire restrictions, IT IS PROHIBITED TO:

  • Lighting, maintaining, operating and using a campfire (including campfires lit with charcoal or briquettes) outside a designated camping site or recreational area with designated Forest firepits or grills.
  • Smoking is prohibited except when smoking in an enclosed vehicle or building, in a designated camping area, or while camping in an area at least three feet in diameter that is empty or cleared of all flammable materials.
  • Possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest System roads and trails, except for travel minimally on exposed mineral soil to reach dispersed camping.
  • Violation of any state law relating to burning, fires, or intended to prevent or limit the spread of fire.
  • There is a total ban on the use of fireworks within the State Forests.

During Stage 1 fire restrictions, the following activities and uses are still PERMITTED in the Forest:

  • Bonfires lit in designated recreational areas, inside designated fireplaces and grills.
  • Campfires in designated wilderness areas, except where they are not permitted.
  • Stoves, lanterns or heating appliances using pressurized or bottled liquid fuels, used in locations that are free from all flammable materials overhead and within 3 feet of the appliance. The appliance must have an operable switch or valve that can immediately extinguish the fire.
  • Recreational shooting where permitted by law.

There are some exceptions permitted for group camps and holiday cottages operated under a permit, which are exempt from this regulation.

For more detailed information on what is permitted or restricted, including a list of designated recreation areas, visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/okawen/campfires

Washington state counties with the worst drought

Washington state continues a drought emergency into 2024, citing low snowpack and hot, dry forecasts. Here are the counties most affected by drought, based on data from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which aims to identify Washington counties with the worst drought conditions in the week leading up to April 30, 2024.

Note: “Abnormal dryness” is not considered drought but is included as a separate data point.

Gallery Author: Jaime Skelton