With triple-digit temperatures predicted for at least the next week, the Yakima County Fire Marshal on Thursday announced an emergency burn ban in unincorporated portions of the county, and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced restrictions on campfires and other activities.
The Yakima County burn ban, which begins Friday and will be in effect through July 12, prohibits all open burning in the unincorporated areas of Yakima County, including bonfires and recreational fires. It was made necessary by “extremely high temperatures, dry conditions and the lack of available water resources,” according to the fire marshal’s news release.
“It is our hope that by declaring a burn ban, we will help ensure that human-caused fires will not divert the resources we need to fight wildfires,” Yakima County Fire Marshal Chris Pedersen said in the release.
Outdoor burning in violation of the local ban may be subject to a $1,000 fine and jail time. The ban could be extended if extreme heat persists, the release said.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife restrictions will also go into effect Friday on department-managed land in Eastern Washington. It prohibits campfires, though camp stoves and lanterns fueled by propane, liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas are allowed; smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle; firing guns, except as part of lawful hunting; welding and chainsaws; and operating a vehicle away from developed roads. The restrictions will remain in effect “until the risk of wildfire decreases,” according to a news release.
“Observing fire restrictions and exercising common sense will go a long way toward preserving public recreation lands, wildlife habitat, public health, and safety for local communities,” Cynthia Wilkerson, the department’s Lands Division manager, said in the release. “WDFW-managed lands are often closer to communities and lower in elevation than other public lands, so we take these precautions very seriously.”