With unusually dry conditions and wildfires burning in parts of the state, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is prohibiting campfires and other activities on all agency-managed lands.

The emergency order, which is effective immediately, prohibits:

  • Fires or campfires: However, personal camp stoves or lanterns fueled by liquid petroleum, liquid petroleum gas or propane are allowed.
  • Smoking: Unless in an enclosed vehicle.
  • Target shooting: Except at shooting ranges developed by WDFW.
  • Welding and the use of chainsaws and other equipment: Operating a torch with an open flame and equipment powered by an internal combustion engine is prohibited.
  • Operating a motor vehicle off developed roads: Except when parking in areas without vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway and parking in developed campgrounds and at trailheads.

Greg Schirato, deputy director of WDFW’s wildlife program, said these restrictions are part of a larger effort by state and federal agencies to reduce the risk of further wildfires in Washington. That effort includes a burn ban issued for all forestlands protected by the state Department of Natural Resources, and another issued by Gov. Chris Gregoire for eastern Washington.

“With numerous wildfires burning in eastern Washington, firefighting crews are stretched thin,” he said. “So it’s important that we take these steps on WDFW lands throughout the state to minimize the possibility of additional wildfires.”

The restrictions on WDFW-managed lands will remain in effect until conditions improve and the risk of wildfires decreases, Schirato said. Keep checking WDFW’s website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/) for an announcement.

Before recreating on public or private lands, hunters and others should check with the appropriate landowner for any restrictions.

Image courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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