Wildfire season is set to be a busy one as all the vegetation from our wet winter and soggy spring is drying out from the late June heat.

With the arrival of hot, dry weather right before the Fourth of July holiday weekend and a number of wildfires already ablaze, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has announced new fire restrictions. Beginning Friday (June 30), the restrictions go into effect for all state lands in eastern Washington.

The department has issued an emergency order that agency lands east of the Cascades. The new order prohibits:

  • Fires or campfires, including those in fire rings, although personal camp stoves and lanterns fueled by propane, liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas are allowed.
  • Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle.
  • Welding or the use of chain saws.
  • Operating a torch with an open flame and all equipment powered by an internal combustion engine.
  • Operating a motor vehicle away from developed roads.

Parking is permitted within designated parking areas, including developed campgrounds and trailheads, and in areas without vegetation that are within 10 feet of roadways.

Fireworks are prohibited year-round at all 33 WDFW wildlife areas and 700-plus water access sites around the state.

As we cautioned earlier on the air, it might be a good year to leave fireworks to the professionals. They have better liability insurance than you do, count on it.

Throwing a lit cigarette or any other burning material from a motor vehicle on a state highway also is prohibited year-round, plus it can cost you a huge fine!

Be safe and use some common sense this Independence Day!

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