Wenatchee, Wash.— Beginning at 1 a.m., Tuesday, October 16, 2012, recreationists may again have campfires in areas where they are normally allowed in the Chelan, Entiat, Wenatchee River, Cle Elum, and Naches Ranger Districts of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The campfire restrictions were downgraded because of recent precipitation that has reduced fire danger to moderate in these areas.
No measurable rain fell in parts of Okanogan County, so campfire restrictions remain in effect for the Methow Valley and Tonasket Ranger Districts. Under these restrictions, campfires are allowed only in metal fire rings in designated campgrounds and in the Pasayten and Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Areas in Okanogan County. These restrictions will be lifted once enough rain falls to lessen fire danger conditions.
“Many recreationists, especially hunters, will be glad that campfire restrictions have been lifted,” said Deputy Fire Staff Officer Richy Harrod. “Forest users have to remember though, even with cooler temperatures and precipitation, fire danger still exists.”
Campers are reminded that it is important to be careful when building any campfires, whether in established campgrounds or in dispersed sites. It is best to use an established fire pit, remove flammable materials from around the pit, and keep the fire small. Most importantly, make sure all sources of fire are completely out and cold to the touch before leaving your site.
The cooler temperatures and moisture also allowed Industrial Fire Precaution Levels (IFPL) to be lowered as well for the Chelan, Entiat, Wenatchee River, Cle Elum, and Naches Ranger Districts. IFPLs for zones 675 and 680 were reduced to Level 1 which allows woodcutters to cut firewood all day long. Woodcutters using chainsaws are reminded that they still need to maintain a one-hour fire watch after shutting down their chainsaws and have the safety equipment listed on their woodcutting permit.
In Okanogan County, the IFPL is currently at Level 2 for zones 678W and 684. Under IFPL Level 2, woodcutters have to shut down chainsaws by 1 p.m. Again, these levels will be reduced once enough rain falls to lessen fire danger conditions.
For more information about campfires or woodcutting, please contact the nearest Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest office–Chelan Ranger District 509-682-4900, Entiat Ranger District 509-784-1511, Wenatchee River Ranger District 509-548-2550, Cle Elum Ranger District 509-852-1100, Naches Ranger District 509-663-1401, Methow Valley Ranger District 509-997-4003, Tonasket Ranger District 509-486-2186, or the forest headquarters office at 509-664-9200.