Chelan County Extending Fire Restrictions Thru Mid October
The Chelan County fire marshal is temporarily extending the current fire ratings and restrictions for an extra two weeks, or until wildfire conditions ease.
County Code requires travel and activity restrictions related to wildfires expire on October 1st, but the fire marshall has an option to change that deadline.
Chelan County Public Information Officer Jill FitzSimmons says the adjustment will keep the county in sync with its state and national partners.
"We're doing that because our partners, after talking to them, they're all staying at the same stage for restrictions," said FitzSimmons. "This way we're all on the same level."
The County's partners for fire fighting are the U.S. Forest Service on the national level and the Washington Department of Natural Resources on the state level.
The county fire marshall’s office is also basing its decision on current weather patterns
"It is because we don't have that moisture out there, and our temperatures are not as cool as they would like," FitzSimmons said.
An extension of existing fire ratings and restrictions past the normal October 1 deadline is rare, having last taken place 10 years ago.
The fire hazard level will now remain “high” and travel restrictions will stay at Level 2 at least until October 15.
Under Stage 2 restrictions:
- Open burning, such as the burning of yard waste, is not allowed.
- Outdoor fires in recreational fire pits are not allowed.
- Citizens can use an outdoor, commercially made grill, such as a propane grill.
- Traveling off of the county roadway is not allowed.
Chelan County Commissioners are expected to sign a resolution on Monday that will officially put the extension in place.
“We still have several active fires in our area causing these smoky conditions we are experiencing,” Fire Marshal Stephen Rinaldi said. “The smoke is a clear indicator of the ongoing hot, dry conditions in Chelan County. Now is not the time to ease up on our travel and activity restrictions. We are asking the public to bear with us and to be mindful of the fire-prone conditions that are hanging on this year.”
If Chelan County receives additional moisture and cooler temperatures in the coming weeks, the county may consider lowering those restrictions before Oct. 15, Rinaldi said.