Dry weather, forest fires lead to outdoor burn ban
April 16, 2020
Several southwest Washington counties, including Wahkiakum County, implemented a ban on outdoor burning for land clearing, residential and silvicultural purposes.
Wahkiakum County Public Works Director Chuck Beyer said Tuesday the ban will expire April 21. The ban could be lifted sooner if weather conditions improve, he added.
The ban came after state and local agencies had responded to four separate fires on Sunday. One occurred on a logging site up the Elochoman Valley near Duck Creek. It burned 1.5 acres, according to reports. Crews from Wahkiakum and Cowlitz fire departments made the initial response; the Washington Department of Natural Resources joined the response, including use of a helicopter, and monitored the fire through the night and into Monday.
Beyer said Tuesday that the ban now applies in Wahkiakum, Pacific, Cowlitz, Clark, Lewis and Skamania counties.
According to Beyer's announcement, "Recreational campfires are allowed if built in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds, such as those typically found in local, county, and state parks and in commercial campgrounds. On private land, campfires are permitted with the landowner's permission if built in an approved manner:
"In a metal, stone or masonry lined fire pit such as those seen in approved campgrounds.
"They may not exceed three feet in diameter. They must have an area at least ten feet around them cleared of all flammable material and at least 20 feet of clearance from overhead fuels.
"Campfires must be attended at all times by a responsible person at least 16 years old with the ability and tools to extinguish the fire; a shovel and either five gallons of water or a connected and charged water hose. Completely extinguish campfires by pouring water or moist soil in them and stirring with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch, the release said. The use of self-contained camp stoves is encouraged as an alternative."
For more information on local fire restrictions, contact the Department of Natural Resources: Pacific Cascade Regional Office (360) 577-2025 or Wahkiakum County Building & Planning: (360) 795-3067.
For daily updates on burn restrictions, call 1-800-323-BURN or visit DNR's website at: https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger, then click on fire information in the far right corner. You can also check with Southwest Clean Air Agency at http://www.swcleanair.org.