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Due to the continued hot and dry weather and drying out of forest fuels, the park issued a ban on all open fires in the park's wilderness backcountry, effective as of September 21, 2012.
This ban was issued in conjunction with Olympic National Forest, and is expected to be in place until seasonal rains occur in October.
"With fires in Eastern Washington and Oregon straining our available resources, as well as seeing an increase in human-caused fires in the park, we are taking this precautionary approach to protect park resources and the safety of our visitors, employees and neighbors," Olympic National Park Acting Superintendent Todd Suess said.
On Thursday evening, September 20, Pencom received a 911 report from private citizen of a fire near the Elwha Dam restoration site.Clallam County Fire District 2 personnel were dispatched to the fire at approximately 7:15 p.m.Due to the high fire danger, additional engines and personnel were dispatched from the Olympic National Park and Washington Department of Natural Resources.
The fire, measuring approximately half an acre, was contained at approximately 8:30 p.m.The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The private citizen who called 911 observed the fire in photos taken by a webcam located at the site.The webcam, which can be viewed on the park's website, is one of six used to monitor the process of sediment movement during dam removal on the Elwha River.
Campfires are permitted only in established fire grates at established front-country campgrounds. Along the park's coastal strip, campfires are permitted only along the beach below the high tide line, except between Yellow Banks and Wedding Rocks, where all campfires are prohibited.
Camp stoves may still be used in the park's wilderness backcountry, but should be operated well away from flammable vegetation and forest litter. Please use caution with any open flame.
People are urged to notify the nearest ranger station or park headquarters at (360) 565-3000 to report abandoned campfires or smoke within the park.
For more information on the Park burn ban, please contact Olympic National Park's Wilderness Information Center at 360-565-3100 or the park's Fire Management Office at 360-565-3120.