Campers deal with Spokane burn ban during Labor Day weekend

Campers deal with Spokane burn ban during Labor Day weekend

As dry conditions persist around the Inland Northwest, fire officials worry a large fire could start in the city and are reminding residents how important the burn ban in effect is.

The Labor Day weekend is a big holiday for outdoor lovers, providing the perfect getaway for a long weekend before summer comes to an end. But, campers are having to go without a traditional campfire to celebrate. In fact, a burn ban has been in effect at Riverside State Park for weeks preventing campers from enjoying campfires.

” We’re doing multiple rotations through the campgrounds. We’ve had it in effect for a little while, but we still make sure that we’re on top of that,” said Brian Frahm, a park ranger at Riverside State Park.

We’ve seen how dangerous our current fire conditions are. On Sunday firefighters had to put out fires by Medical Lake and Rathdrum. Both were spurred by erratic winds and a lack of moisture. Fires like those can spark in seconds.

” It spreads super easy and everything around us is dead,” Frahm said.

Fire officials say battling those fires is a challenge because of the unpredictable winds we’re seeing. Spokane has also gone more than 60 days without any measurable precipitation. These are conditions we’re not used to in September.

” That fire behavior in September is very unique and not smething that a lot of us are very comfortable with, especially with people misusing the burn ban, or not following the burn ban,” said Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.

That burn ban doesn’t have to ruin the camping experience though. Jason Barnes and his wife, Marie, took matters into their own hands, bringing a propane fueled gas burner to their campsite.

” There’s really no sparks. You get the true feeling of a flame coming off of it. It does generate some heat at night, cause it does cool down. And it’s about the only thing you can do right now,” Barnes said.

He adds that it’s not the same as the real deal, but with our weather conditions, he doesn’t mind.

” As dry as it’s been in this area, this is the next best thing that you can do,” said Barnes.

Campers are also having to deal with the smoky air. They say it’s not ideal, but they’re determined not to let it get in the way of a good time.