COLUMBIA & SNAKE RIVER BASINS –Visitors enjoying outdoor summer fun opportunities at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation facilities should be aware of fire conditions and temporary fire restrictions.
Wildfires are a seasonal problem in the Northwest. This year, a mild spring with significant rainfall and snowmelt runoff which continued through June led to an abundance of grass and shrub growth – known as “ladder fuel” to firefighters. With temperatures already hitting triple digits in July, this undergrowth and grass is dry and easily ignited if exposed to a fire source. Once started, wildfires can quickly devastate miles of valuable forest and wildlife habitat lands.
Because of the current fire-risk conditions along the mid-Columbia and lower-Snake rivers, fire restrictions are in effect at several recreation areas in the Corps’ Walla Walla District.
At Corps recreation areas along Lake Wallula, upstream of McNary Lock and Dam, wood and charcoal fires are temporarily banned until fire-risk conditions change. Gas and propane cooking devices are allowed.
At Corps recreation areas along Lake Sacajawea, upstream of Ice Harbor Lock and Dam; and Lake West, upstream of Lower Monumental Lock and Dam, wood and charcoal fires are temporarily banned until fire-risk conditions change. Gas and propane cooking devices are allowed.
Fire-risk conditions can quickly increase with changing temperature and winds -- visitors should check for current fire-restriction notices on information kiosks at all outdoor recreation areas. Visitors are also encouraged to take extra precautions with other sources of ignition, such as cigarettes, vehicle exhaust systems and, where allowed, even charcoal briquettes. Fireworks, including sparklers, are not allowed on any Corps lands at any time.
All visitors are asked to call 911 if they see problems or issues with fires or suspicious smoke. Information on recreation Corps opportunities is available on the Walla Walla District website at www.nww.usace.army.mil
Release no. 18-078