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Recreationalists in local national forestlands will be able to roast their marshmallows over the fire again starting this weekend.

Effective Friday, Sept. 17, campfire restrictions will be reduced across the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. According to a press release from the department, the reduction means that forest visitors may once again enjoy campfires within campfire rings in developed and designated campgrounds, or in organizational camps, recreation residences, and resorts under a special use permit, and in wilderness areas.

The release added that normal year-round restrictions remain in effect prohibiting campfires within a half mile of some wilderness area lakes. Campfires are not permitted in some higher elevation locations above 5,000 feet within some wilderness areas. Please call individual ranger stations for specific information about these locations.

“Shorter daylight hours, cooler temperatures and some precipitation in the Cascades prompted us to allow campfires again,” the release said. “Even though restrictions have been lessened, there is still a risk for wildland fires. As we begin to receive fall rainstorms, there is often a sense that the fire danger has passed. However, as the warmer and drier temperatures return next week, it won’t take long for the finer fuels to dry out. The heavier fuels won’t see good moisture recovery until we get significantly more precipitation, so we could still see increased fire activity.”

The release reminded those who use campfires to remember that every precaution should be taken to ensure a campfire does not become a wildfire, and that forest visitors should use an established fire pit or campfire ring in campgrounds, clear flammable materials from around the pit, and keep the fire small.

“Do not leave campfires unattended and make sure it is dead out and cold to the touch before leaving,” the release said.

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