OLYMPIA – The state Department of Natural Resources has expanded its eastern Washington burn ban to include the whole state.
The arrival of warm summer temperatures and below-normal precipitation in western Washington led the department to make the change, which starts July 29. The ban runs through Sept. 30.
A burn ban for DNR-protected lands in eastern Washington has been in effect since July 2. The ban may be extended or shortened, based on fire weather.
“The arrival of summer weather creates greater danger for wildfires, which are serious threats to safety, property and habitat,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We have already seen a number of roadside fires start on both sides of the Cascades. We must be cautious and vigilant to minimize the damage to our state.”
The ban means outdoor burning is prohibited on all forest lands that DNR protects from wildfire. Anyone caught violating the burn ban can face fines.
Prescribed ecological burns approved by DNR will be allowed if approved by Goldmark.
Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal and other campgrounds are allowed. Campfires are not allowed at Leader Lake Campground.
DNR’s burn ban does not apply to federally owned lands, such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges or other areas administered by federal agencies. Counties and local fire districts may have additional burn restrictions.
Okanogan County has a burn ban in place, as do Omak and Okanogan. Ferry County has an open flame ban in place.
As of Thursday afternoon, DNR has responded to 408 wildfire starts throughout the state.
Fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, sky lanterns, or tracer ammunition, are illegal on all DNR-protected forestlands.