The Forest Service announced a ban on campfires across the entire Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in a news release Thursday afternoon.

That includes all national forest campgrounds and wilderness areas, including popular campgrounds outside of Naches and Cle Elum-Roslyn. The ban goes into effect Friday. People can still use pressurized liquid gas stoves, pressurized liquid gas fires, or an enclosed solid fuel fire that uses a wick to distribute a flame.

Increasing fire danger necessitated the ban, along with a need to reduce the threat of human-caused fires to protect firefighters from COVID-19. The Forest Service asks people to report suspicious smoke and put out any abandoned campfires.

Those restrictions will remain until the fire danger lessens and the forest sees some soaking rain. Woodcutters should hold off if possible and they face limits on the hours woodcutting can occur in Industrial Fire Precaution Level II, although that could shift to Level III next week.