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Read this before you light any outdoor fires in Washington

A burn ban is now in effect for all land in Washington state protected by the Department of Natural Resources. Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal and other campgrounds are allowed.
A burn ban is now in effect for all land in Washington state protected by the Department of Natural Resources. Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal and other campgrounds are allowed. Staff file

The state Department of Natural Resources has expanded its burn ban to cover the entire state, joining Whatcom County and other jurisdictions in limiting where you light a fire this summer.

The ban will run from Friday, July 29, through Sept. 30 and covers all DNR-protected lands in the state. The ban may be extended or shortened based on fire weather, DNR officials said.

Whatcom County imposed a burn ban July 26. Recreational fires are allowed in campgrounds and on private property with the owner’s permission, said Mitch Nolze, county fire inspector.

Although the ban affects only unincorporated areas in Whatcom County, Nolze said that all incorporated cities in the county have permanent burn bans, with only recreational fires allowed.

Burn ban violations carry a $250 fine, Nolze said. Additional fines and criminal penalties are possible if an illegal fire burns out of control or requires a fire department response.

A ban for Eastern Washington has been in effect since July 2.

“The arrival of summer weather creates greater danger for wildfires, which are serious threats to safety, property and habitat. We have already seen a number of roadside fires start on both sides of the Cascades,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said. “We must be cautious and vigilant to minimize the damage to our state.”

The DNR already had 408 wildfires start throughout the state this year.

The ban means outdoor burning is prohibited on all forestlands that DNR protects from wildfire. Anyone caught violating the burn ban can face fines.

The ban does not apply to federally owned lands, such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges or other areas administered by federal agencies.

A copy of the commissioner’s order is available at dnr.wa.gov/burn-bans.

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