Bonfire left to burn, only to be someone else’s problem


Firefighters extinguish abandoned bonfire in Reiter Foothills
Firefighters Doug Lanning and Michael Pennington extinguish an abandoned bonfire in Reiter Foothills
Photo by Sue Jenson, DNR

It’s never a good time to leave a campfire burning…ever, but especially with the current wildfires in Washington.

Last Sunday, during record dry conditions and high fire danger, DNR employees and volunteers came upon a campfire that had not been put out.

While at a volunteer event at the Reiter non-motorized site, David Way (DNR employee) discovered an illegal camp site with a smoldering bonfire. It was left by campers.

The term ‘bonfire’ is used because the pit was very large, and it contained logs that the people were trying to burn. A campfire is smaller and contained in a proper pit.

Fortunately for the Reiter community, David called in a couple of wildland firefighters to hike in and put out the fire.

The backcountry camp was unauthorized, and the campers had been cutting trees for campfires and for the campfire seating. Luckily the bonfire was discovered before winds fanned the flames and sparks ignited a wildfire.