Seriously…who would abandon a campfire? One of the leading causes of wildfires

Campfires may only be allowed in approved fire pits on DNR-protected lands. Photo: DNR.

Why would anyone walk away from a campfire and leave it to burn out on its own? Because wind can pick up very quickly and unexpectedly, it just doesn’t make sense. Even if only one little ember escapes, it can start a wildfire.

Of course, it’s been a cooler and wetter summer, but that has led to more vegetation that is starting to dry out – a major wildfire risk. Last August, DNR received many telephone calls from citizens reporting escaped or abandoned campfires. This year, we’re asking for your help: Please report any campfires you see smoldering with no one attending to it – or better yet, put it out.

Campfires may be allowed in approved fire pits, but otherwise, please keep in mind that a statewide burn ban is in effect through September 30 for all DNR-protected land. Remember, if there’s ever any doubt whether you may have a campfire or not, always contact your area’s DNR Region Office, fire district, or fire department to clarify specific regulations in that area.

Parents, be creative with Smokey Bear and make it fun for your family to learn about campfire safety. Or maybe you need to remind your partner that you’re not going anywhere until the campfire is completely out and cool to the touch.

5 important tips

In recent years, we’ve seen an increasing number of abandoned and illegal campfires. Please take the time to completely put out your campfire – a little extra care takes only a few minutes, but could prevent a wildfire. Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.

 If campfires are allowed, extinguish them properly when you leave: 

  1. Drown the fire thoroughly with water.
  2. Stir until cold.
  3. Drown the fire again and stir.
  4. Never leave a campfire unattended at any time.
  5. Never leave a campfire until it is completely out and cool to the touch.

Before leaving home, always check to find out what the campfire restrictions are for the area you plan to visit. 

Also, keep up with wildfire information in Washington State.

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