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State eases recreational campfire restrictions

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — State officials will ease restrictions on recreational campfires because of recent rain and cooler temperatures.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources said in a news release Tuesday that effective Wednesday, campfires will be allowed in approved fire pits in campgrounds on Washington lands protected by the agency.

Other forms of outdoor burning, such as debris burning, remain prohibited under a burn ban ordered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz because forests and rangelands remain dry from the summer’s low precipitation totals.

“We’re thankful to have rain help wet our landscapes, but as we saw with a quick-moving fire east of Ellensburg Sunday evening, we’re not out of fire season quite yet,” said Franz. “I urge everyone to check with their local authorities before lighting campfires.”

Check local restrictions

Counties and local fire districts may have their own continued campfire bans. Burn restrictions on federally-owned lands, such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges or other areas are administered by federal agencies. Check local restrictions, campground signs or with campground hosts before starting a campfire.

For current information on burn restrictions, call 1-800-323-BURN or visit DNR’s webpage showing fire danger and burning restrictions by county: www.dnr.wa.gov/burn-restrictions.

Franz urges everyone to check with local authorities before lighting campfires as they may have their own continued campfire bans.

She says more than 90 percent of Washington’s wildfires this year have been human-caused.