Extreme fire danger prompts campfire ban for the mountains

Campfire near White Pine Lake (Courtesy: Will Feelright)

LOGAN — The US Forest Service has implemented fire restrictions for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The ban on campfires started at 12:00 a.m. Friday and will continue until significant rainfall is received.

US Forest Service spokeswoman Jennifer Parker explained that under the restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal, coal and wood stoves are prohibited in the national forest that covers the northern half of Utah, portions of southern Idaho and western Wyoming. The only exception is in developed campgrounds.

“You can have a campfire or use a charcoal grill in a developed recreation site,” said Parker. “So that is campgrounds and developed picnic areas, where there is a metal fire ring provided by the forest service.”

There are also exceptions for campers and backpackers, who wish to use a camp stove for cooking. As part of the order, a stove that is solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off is allowed in areas that are clear of flammable materials.

Parker said even in developed campgrounds and picnic areas where campfires are legal, it is still critical to watch any fire at all times and extinguish it completely before leaving. Rangers have found several instances where people have just left fires burning or smoldering.

“If you are leaving your campsite or your fire at all during the day, you need to extinguish it. Don’t try to keep it burning while you are gone. If you aren’t going to be attending it, you need to put it out.”

The restrictions also limits smoking to within enclosed vehicles, buildings, developed campgrounds, or while stopped in an area at least 3-feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of any flammable material.

Anyone caught building or maintaining a campfire on the National Forest during the fire restrictions can be cited. Violators may also be required to appear in federal court.


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