All activities likely to start a fire on Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuges have been banned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife in advance of the holiday weekend.
The refuges include the Hanford Reach National Monument and Columbia, Cold Springs, Conboy Lake, McKay Creek, McNary, Toppenish and Umatilla National Wildlife Refuges.
Use of any fire, including the use of charcoal briquettes and cooking stoves, is prohibited. Also banned are smoking outside of an enclosed vehicle and operation of any motor without an approved and working spark arrester. Fireworks are banned year-round.
Drivers should be careful not to pull off roadways onto long grass.
No major fires have started on Mid-Columbia refuges yet this year, but there have been small fires.
“The wet winter and spring has resulted in significant vegetation growth, and conditions are perfect for the development of devastating wildfires,” said Paul Hiebert, fire management officer at the refuges. “This week’s high temperatures and low humidity will add to the serious situation we’re already facing and makes fighting wildfires very dangerous for fire crews.”