Know before you go: new Scenic Area/DNR/BLM fire restrictions

Scenic Area

Hood River, Ore. — August 3, 2018— Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area has issued restrictions prohibiting open campfires on National Forest System lands in the Gorge. The orders also restrict smoking, engine use, welding, and motor vehicle use. Here’s a synopsis of what you need to know before heading out this weekend:

Campfires Banned. Under this fire restriction, wood and charcoal fires are prohibited, even in developed campgrounds and picnic areas that have established metal fire pits or rings.  Building and tending open fires, including charcoal briquettes, cooking fires, and warming fires are prohibited until further notice.  Portable cooking stoves and lanterns using liquefied or bottled fuel are permissible.

No Smoking. Smoking outside of vehicles, buildings, and developed recreation sites is also prohibited. The exception is areas that are barren and clear of all flammable material for a three-foot diameter.

Engine Restrictions. Operating an internal combustion engine is prohibited – this specifically applies to generators and chainsaws, except in areas devoid of vegetation.

Welding and torches. Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame is prohibited.

Motorized vehicles. Possessing or using motor vehicles including motorcycles, ATVs, and OHVs is prohibited on National Forest systems trails and any other Forest System land outside of roads.

Campfire restrictions will remain in effect until there is significant moisture to lower the fire danger. Violators can be fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned up to six months in jail.

For more information about current fire closures and restrictions, visit the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Fire Management webpage athttps://www.fs.usda.gov/main/crgnsa/fire.

Washington DNR

OLYMPIA – In order to help prevent wildfires, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is temporary banning all target shooting on 3 million acres of DNR-managed lands. This includes state forests, community forests, and forested state lands.

The temporary ban goes into effect this Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018.

“I know this is an inconvenience to our recreational shooters, but current conditions require us to take reasonable steps to reduce wildfire risk,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “Within days we expect to surpass the average number of wildfires that my crews normally respond to within an entire wildfire season. Resources are stretched and we must all do our part to protect our communities and our firefighters.”

Shooting at targets poses greater risk in dry conditions as bullets pass through decayed wood, cause sparks off rocks, or break into fragments in dry grass.

This temporary rule does not restrict hunting, as firearms are discharged less frequently.

Washington is extremely hot and dry, with ninety-six percent of the state in drought-like conditions. Vegetation is very dry and getting drier.

On average, DNR responds to 22 wildfires on DNR-managed lands each year caused by shooting – that includes illegal explosive targets and target practice.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is also restrictingshooting on WDFW-managed lands beginning Saturday.

Commissioner Franz is encouraging private landowners to consider target shooting restrictions on their own lands.

The target shooting ban is expected to last through Sept. 30, 2018, though may be extended or shortened based upon ongoing fire conditions. The agency is encouraging target shooters to visit local private and public target range facilities during this time.

Anyone who spots a wildfire should call 911 as soon as possible to report it.

Washington BLM

SPOKANE, Wash. – Due to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Spokane District’s commitment to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive, fire restrictions on lands administered by the district and by the Bureau of Reclamation have been modified to prohibit the building, maintaining, attending or using a fire of any type, including charcoal briquette fires.

An exemption is made for liquefied and bottled gas stoves and heaters provided they are used within an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.  The modified restrictions will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7 and will affect BLM lands in the following eastern Washington counties: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima counties.  Restrictions are in place until further notice.

In addition to prohibiting campfires, restrictions on the use of off-road vehicles, smoking, shooting of exploding targets and the use of fireworks is still in effect.