Campers headed to east side of state should be aware of burn ban

South Sound residents headed to the east side of the state for the holiday weekend should be aware there is a burn ban in effect. The state Department of Natural Resources has imposed the ban on department-protected lands east of the Cascades.

The ban is in effect today through Sept. 30, and is currently limited to Eastern Washington. It may eventually be extended to Western Washington as conditions warrant, according to a department news release. The ban applies only to forestlands under DNR fire protection, but not federally owned lands.

There are two exceptions to the ban:

Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds, and gas or propane stoves and barbecue grills are allowed.

Department-approved prescribed fires, when the benefits can only be accomplished successfully from today through Sept. 30.

So far this year, the department has had 172 wildfire starts, which have burned approximately 779 acres throughout the state.

Travelers also should note fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, sky lanterns or tracer ammunition, are illegal on all department-protected forestlands. Charcoal briquettes also are not allowed.