Campfire Restrictions

See below for current restrictions. Contact ranger districts directly for more information, and please observe all burning and campfire restrictions.
  • Current Restrictions - Learn what campfire restrictions are currently in place
  • Wilderness Restrictions - These wilderness fire restrictions are always in effect
  • Approved and Non-Approved Fire- A guide to use when campfires are restricted due to high fire danger.
  • Campfire Safety Information - Each year escaped campfires are the leading human cause of wildfires on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Learn how to put out a campfire effectively and more.
  • Fines - Learn about fines imposed for escaped campfires, fireworks and having a campfire in a closed area.

Current Campfire Restrictions

July 9, 2015

Continuing hot, dry weather conditions and increasing fire danger have prompted the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to implement a total ban on the use of campfires on the entire forest.

Campfires are not allowed anywhere on the entire national forest, including wilderness areas. The ranger districts closed to campfires are the Cle Elum, Wenatchee River, Entiat, Chelan, Naches, Methow Valley and Tonasket Ranger Districts.

A campfire restriction means that wood and charcoal fires are not allowed. Pressurized liquid gas stoves are still allowed. Briquette fires are not allowed.

“Fuel conditions are approaching extreme values and there are a number of large fires in the region,” said Deputy Fire Staff for Operations Matt Castle. “We want to minimize the chance of new fire starts in order to keep the public safe. This also puts us in line with other jurisdictions in the area that have already banned campfires.”

Initial campfire restrictions on the Okanogan-Wenatchee NF were implemented June 12. They were expanded on June 17 and again on June 23.

Forest visitors should always check to see what restrictions are in place before traveling to the national forest. Contact any Okanogan-Wenatchee NF office for up-to-date campfire restriction information.

Chelan, Entiat, Wenatchee River Ranger Districts Campfire Restriction Order

Naches, Methow Valley, Tonasket Ranger Districts Campfire Restriction Order


Wilderness area restrictions that are always in place are noted below. 

The following Wilderness restrictions for campfires are always in place

Campfires are NOT allowed:

  • Above 5,000 feet elevation in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness on the Wenatchee National Forest
  • Within ½ mile of the following lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area on Wenatchee River Ranger District: Hope Lake, Josephine Lake, Leland Lake, Little Eightmile Lake, Mig Lake, Nada Lake, Swimming Deer Lake, Square Lake, Trout Lake, Wolverine Lake, Upper and Lower Grace Lakes, Lake Donald, Loch Eileen, Lake Ethel, Lake Julius, Lake Susan Jane. 
  • Within ½ mile of the following lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area on the Cle Elum Ranger District: Rachel Lake, Upper Park Lake (essentially the whole basin), Glacier Lake, Spectacle Lake, Ivanhoe Lake, Shovel Lake, Lake Rebecca/Rowena, Deep Lake
  • Within ¼ mile of the following lakes in the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness area: Sally Ann, Minotaur, Theseus, Heather, Glasses, and Valhalla.

Approved and Non-approved Fire

The following is a guide to use when campfires are restricted due to high fire danger.

Approved Fires

  • Liquid gas stoves or fires.  These include:
    • Propane gas camp stoves used for campground or backcountry use.
    • Propane gas catalytic heaters.
    • White gas camp stoves with a pump which distribute pressurized gas.
    • Butane or other pressurized gas canister devices attached to camp stoves.
    • Propane or white gas lanterns that distribute gas under pressure.
  • Solid fuel citronella candles in a metal bucket.
  • Solid fuel candles in a metal or glass container.
  • Propane barbeque devices that do not utilize solid briquettes for the heat source.
  • Stove or fireplace fires completely contained within a summer home or residence.
  • Propane or pressurized white gas warming devices with a shield and base.

Non-approved Fires

  • Campfires that utilize wood, pressed logs, wood pellets, paper, cardboard, or other solid fuels.
  • Campfires utilizing solid fuel that do not distribute the flame with a wick.
  • Briquette fires.
  • Unapproved fires on a summer home or residence porch or in an uncontained structure.
  • Unapproved fires in a tent, open garage or carport, fenced area, shelter, porch or other nonstructural surrounding.
  • “Tikki torches” which utilize liquid fuel.
  • Alcohol ultralight stoves (these tend to be homemade from aluminum or tin cans and burn rubbing alcohol)
  • Wood “twig” ultralight stoves 
  • Campfires, lanterns, or stoves that use non-pressurized liquid gas or fuel.
  • Liquid fuel citronella lanterns or candles.
  • Solid fuel candles which are not contained within a metal container or glass container.
  • Liquid fuel stove or lantern fires which utilize a wick to distribute the flame.
  • Solid fuel fireworks of any kind.
  • Wood, solid fuel or non-pressurized gas campfires contained by a rock barrier.
  • Wood, solid fuel or non-pressurized gas campfires contained in an open camp stove, container, or barrel.
  • Wood, solid fuel or non-pressurized gas campfires contained in a closed camp stove, not in a fully contained residence or summer home.

Campfire Safety

Each year escaped campfires are the leading human cause of wildfires on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest!

Campfires usually become problems when campers fail to properly extinguish them before leaving the forest, Scopa noted. The wind comes up and blows sparks into surrounding grass or fallen tree needles, and that can result in hundreds of acres of burned forest. In areas where campfires are still allowed, fire safe practices are essential for preventing wildfire.

"Campfires should be built in already established fire rings and well away from tree roots, stumps, or overhanging branches. The fire should be tended at all times and put out completely before breaking camp," Scopa cautioned. To completely extinguish a campfire, it must be stirred with adequate amounts of dirt and water until it is cold to the touch of a bare hand.

"It is very important there be no warmth left in the campfire," Scopa emphasized. The use of self-contained pressurized liquid fuel stoves is allowed in areas where campfires are prohibited; however, this does not include "sheepherders" stoves, which are not allowed. Also, 'tiki torches' that some people use for insect repellent are prohibited.

Fire management officials for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest try to avoid placing restrictions on public use of the national forests until absolutely necessary, Scopa noted. "The public has always been very understanding and cooperative when campfire restrictions have been necessary in the past. They often ask about campfire closures before they are implemented, because they can see how dry it's getting in the low country," Scopa said. Forest users have also helped by reporting suspicious smokes and putting out abandoned campfires they discover.

For more information and to find out which areas and campgrounds are open to campfires, contact the Ranger District you plan to visit.

Please remember that no fireworks are allowed in the National Forests.

FINES for escaped campfires, fireworks and having a campfire in a closed area

  • Each year escaped campfires are the leading human cause of wildfires on the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests. Do not ignore the campfire restrictions! Please report any unattended campfires.
  • If a fire results from your escaped campfire or the illegal use of fireworks you can be subject to a citation and a fine from $100 up to $5,000 and/or 1 year in jail.
  • This violation doesn’t just apply if your fire escapes, but also if you “build, maintain, attend or use” a campfire in an area where campfires are not allowed (areas closed to campfire use). You can also be held responsible for fire suppression costs. Suppression efforts are very costly, often running into hundreds of thousands of dollars and more.
  • Please take note--If we see someone with an illegal campfire they will receive a ticket.

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