Washington bans campfires at all state parks

Washington bans campfires at all state parks »Play Video
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Doug Beckers
SEATTLE -- Campfires are now banned in all Washington State Parks until further notice.

That decision comes after the state Department of Natural Resources issued a similar ban on all state forest land earlier this week.

Surprisingly, the dry weather isn't the biggest reason for the ban. Instead, state officials say it's about firefighting resources being spread too thin.

The Kenagy family got the unwelcome news when they arrived at Saltwater State Park on Thursday.

"When we rolled in we saw the sign that said no more fires, even charcoal fires," said Judy Kenagy.

The kids were looking forward to barbequing hot dogs, but the family had to leave the charcoal in their truck.

"(We were) really disappointed, but we had our camper, so we pan fried them in the camper," Judy said.

Saltwater State Park is near the sea and is very green. But even inside its lush confines, where there is no obvious dry brush, the burn ban is in effect.

"I wish they would come up with a solution to help us here on the wetter side of the state," said Bob Kenagy.

The ban calls for no fires using briquettes or wood, even in barbeques and fire pits. Basically, there can be no fires where the flames can't be controlled.

Propane and liquid gas stoves are still allowed, as are pressurized warming devices, solid fuel citronella candles and other candles in metal or glass containers.

State officials say the ban comes down to a firefighting resource issue. They don't want any more fires to break out while resources are already spread so thin.

Campground hosts are left to spread the bad news.

"A lot of people are unhappy with that, but they all agree that it's safer to do it that way. And if they don't do it, they get a big fine," said campground host Carole Siewenie.

The burn bun on state lands will last until the end of September, but there is no end date for the ban at state parks.