Stevens County tightens fire restrictions

Jim and Mary Angell
Staff Writer

Stevens County has tightened its fire restrictions in the face of continuing dry conditions and the outbreak of fires in surrounding areas.
Sheriff Kendle Allen on Aug. 1 issued an order banning all open burning in the county, with the exception of barbecue grills used for food preparation.
Allen said the increased restrictions were put in place largely because of continued dry conditions.
“Even though somebody is as careful as they can be, all it takes is for somebody out there with a campfire to have a little wind come up and blow an ember into the grass,” he said. “It’s out of hand before you even know what’s going on.”
Fires have burned north and east of Stevens County, Allen said, and firefighters are being pulled away from the area to battle blazes in other areas.
“All of the resources are tapped,” he said.
Those using barbecue grills must have a water source within 25 feet to extinguish any fires that might be started by the grills.
Colville National Forest has also strengthened its fire restrictions, limiting campfires to improved campsites and prohibiting smoking outside of vehicles.