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

 

Campfires Banned in Okanogan-Wenatchee NF

7-17-14 -- Continuing hot, dry weather, worsening fire hazard, and scarcity of firefighting resources due to current large fires burning in the forest have prompted forest officials to expand campfire restrictions to include the entire Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Under the Forest-wide restriction, the use of wood and charcoal campfires is banned; however, people will still be able to use pressurized liquid gas stoves, pressurized liquid gas fires, or an enclosed solid fuel fire that utilizes a wick to distribute a flame.  Wood burning camp stoves sometimes used by hunters will not be allowed. See Forest-wide Campfire Closure Order

Due to the dry condition of forests and rangelands, and land manager concerns about the strain on firefighting resources in the western United States, fire danger levels for Chelan, Kittitas, Yakima and Klickitat Counties will change to Very High.

"With large fires already burning on or near the forest, it is very important to also take steps to limit the threat of human-caused fires.  Public cooperation has been excellent when campfire restrictions have been necessary in the past, and right now, that same cooperation is crucial,” said Forest Supervisor Mike Balboni.   

"In addition to adhering to restrictions, folks who use the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest can help us a great deal simply by being watchful when they are in the woods," Balboni added.   The public has traditionally provided an important firefighting resource by reporting suspicious smokes, and putting out any abandoned campfires encountered.

Balboni looks to the weather for the relief necessary to lifting these additional fire safety precautions.  "The campfire restrictions will be lifted as soon as the weather brings some much needed soaking rain," he said.  

In addition to the Forest-wide campfire restrictions, woodcutters need to be aware that restrictions are also in place regarding woodcutting.  

"Right now, the front country areas of the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest (Zone 675) are in an Industrial Fire Precaution Level III which prohibits firewood cutting," Balboni said.  That leaves very few areas of the forest available for woodcutting.  It is best that woodcutters hold off awhile to do their firewood cutting until weather conditions change. 


Wilderness area restrictions that are always in place are noted below, but under current forest-wide ban do not apply. No campfires are currently allowed in Wilderness areas.

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: Hope, Josephine, Leland, Little Eightmile, Mig, Nada, Swimming Deer, Square, Trout, Wolverine, Upper and Lower Grace, Donald, Loch Eileen, Ethel, Julius, and Susan Jane.
  • 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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