Submitted by Forest Service
As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, Forest Service and Park Service officials are reminding the public that all fireworks – sparklers included – are prohibited on all federal public lands, including the Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park. With increasingly dry conditions and higher temperatures, visitors are also reminded to be careful with campfires.
“Fireworks pose a serious fire threat,” said Micah Johnson, Acting Fire Management Officer for Olympic Interagency Fire Management. “People often assume fireworks are only risky in forested areas, but other areas across the peninsula like campgrounds and sparsely vegetated areas you can find along the coast are susceptible too.”
No other fire restrictions are currently in place on the Olympic National Forest or Park, but visitors are asked to be mindful of Washington’s increasingly dry conditions when visiting public lands this summer. By following these safety tips, visitors can help prevent avoidable wildfires:
1. Let the night sky be your show
- Fireworks are illegal on public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service. Violators are subject to a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail (36 CFR 261.52) and may additionally be held liable for suppression costs. Check local jurisdictions if visiting State, County, or City parks.
2. Keep campfires small
- A campfire is less likely to escape control if it is kept small. A large fire may cast hot embers long distances. Add firewood in small amounts as existing material is consumed.
3. Select the right spot for your campfire
- Where campfires are allowed, choose a site with an existing ring. Fire pits in established campgrounds are the best spots.
- On the coast, fires may not be kindled closer than 10 feet to the nearest beach logs and may not exceed 3 feet in diameter.
- If you are dispersed camping in Olympic National Forest and choose to build a campfire, avoid building it near your tent, structures, vehicles, shrubs or trees, and be aware of low-hanging branches overhead. Clear the site down to bare soil, at least five feet on all sides, and circle it with rocks. Store unused firewood a good distance from the fire.
- Please follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize campfire impacts.
4. Extinguish all campfires before leaving – even if gone for a short period of time
- Bring a shovel and a bucket of water to extinguish any escaped embers. When you are ready to leave, drown all embers with water, stir the coals, and drown again. Repeat until the fire is DEAD out. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.
5. Attend your campfire at all times
- A campfire left unattended for even a few minutes can grow into a costly, damaging wildfire. Stay with your campfire from start to finish until it is dead out, as required by law. That ensures any escaped sparks or embers can be extinguished quickly.
Call 911 to report the illegal use of fireworks or unsafe fire use. Additional campfire and wildfire safety information can be found at the Smokey the Bear website.