DNR: Weekend campers be careful of high fire danger

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter



While the days leading up to the holiday weekend may be soggy, state officials are asking those planning on enjoying the outdoors Labor Day weekend to check local restrictions on campfires, such as specific campgrounds, before leaving home.

Campfires are allowed in approved pits west of the Cascade Range in state, local and private campgrounds, they are not allowed east of the range.

Campers are asked to heed the following advice when building a campfire:

o Use an existing fire ring; don’t create a new one.

o Clear all vegetation away from the fire ring.

o Keep your campfire small.

o Keep plenty of water and a shovel nearby for throwing dirt on the fire if it gets out of control.

o Never leave a campfire unattended.

When putting out your campfire, you should:

o First, drown the campfire with water.

o Next, mix the ashes and embers with soil. Scrape all partially burned sticks and logs to make sure all the hot embers are off of them.

o Stir embers after they are covered with water and make sure everything is wet.

o Feel the coals, embers, and any partially burned wood with your hands. Everything should be cool to the touch.

o When you think you are done, take an extra minute and add more water. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again.

o If water is unavailable, use moist dirt. Be careful not to bury any hot or burning material, as it can smolder and later start a wildfire.

o Finally, check the entire campsite for possible sparks or embers; it only takes one to start a forest fire.

o If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.

For daily updates on burn restrictions, call 1-800-323-BURN or visit DNR’s webpage showing fire danger and burning restrictions by county: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx.