The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Friday that weather conditions are still too dry to allow outdoor burning.
A post on the DNR blog Tuesday said an illegal camp site with an unattended, smoldering bonfire left by campers was discovered Sunday in the Reiter Foothills just past Gold Bar along U.S. Route 2.
"The backcountry camp was unauthorized, and the campers had been cutting trees for campfires and for the campfire seating. Luckily the bonfire was discovered before winds fanned the flames and sparks ignited a wildfire."
"Wildland firefighters (had) to hike in and put out the fire."
For both sides of the Cascades, DNR has extended the statewide burn ban on all DNR-protected lands; the ban is in effect through October 7, 2012, and includes all forestlands in Washington, except for federal lands.
“The conditions for new fires still exist, even as we head into October,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “Our firefighting resources are stretched to the limit, and our firefighters are exhausted. We cannot take the risk of new, human-caused fires with the tinder dry conditions out there. We are taking the unprecedented step of extending the burn ban and asking everyone to be patient and vigilant until we see some rain.”
At Mount Rainier National Park, officials advised that as of Sept. 21, campfires were still allowed in the fire pits in designated front country campgrounds. Visitors are asked to keep fires small and manageable; monitor the fire at all times; when leaving the fire pit, put fire out with copious amounts of water; make sure it is out and cold to the touch. Campers are responsible for their campfires even after they leave it.
In King County, all outdoor burning is banned with the exception of recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds. The use of gas and propane barbeques and self contained stoves are allowed.