The Tri-Cities area, along with the rest of Mid-Columbia, will be under a fire weather watch from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 15.

The National Weather Service predicts low relative humidity and windy conditions, which will allow any fire that begins to spread quickly.

The watch could be elevated to a red flag warning.

In the Tri-Cities a high of 97 is forecast for Friday and winds of 5 to 14 mph during the day and overnight, gusting up to 20 mph.

New fire restrictions have been announced for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife land in eastern Washington.

Usually, campfires and other activities are restricted from July 1. But this year, the emergency rules have been postponed until Friday, July 15.

“Due to the wet and cool start to summer, we have postponed restrictions this year beyond July 1, allowing people to enjoy campfires longer,” said Cynthia Wilkerson, division manager. agency land.

But this week the risk of wildfires has increased, she said.

Firefighters begin a burnout to stop a fire burning east of Kennewick in 2019. A fire weather watch has been issued for the Tri-Cities on Friday July 15, 2022. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald File

Fires and campfires are not allowed, not even in the fire rings. However, personal camping stoves and lanterns powered by propane, liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas are permitted.

Target shooting with firearms is prohibited and chainsaws cannot be used. Smoking can only be done in a closed vehicle.

Cars and trucks may only be driven on designated roads and parking is only permitted in designated parking areas and in areas without vegetation within 10 feet of roads.

Fire restrictions in wildlife refuges

Fire restrictions have already been ordered from June 28 on eight national wildlife refuges managed from the Burbank office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The order includes Hanford Reach National Monument and the Columbia, Cold Springs, Conboy Lake, McKay Creek, McNary, Toppenish and Umatilla National Wildlife Refuges.

The use of any fire, including the use of charcoal briquettes and cooking stoves, is prohibited. It is also prohibited to smoke outside an enclosed vehicle and to operate any engine without an approved and functioning spark arrester.

Drivers are advised to be careful when parking along roads with tall grass.

Fireworks and campfires are prohibited year-round.

Due to the wet spring, there is an unusually large buildup of grass and other vegetation, setting the stage for a wildfire-dangerous summer.

“With increased vegetation, this fire season can bring larger and more devastating wildfires that are difficult to fight,” said John Janak, Fish and Wildlife’s fire management officer.

Fire restrictions on National Wildlife Refuges are lifted at midnight on September 30. No end date has been set for the lifting of restrictions on state land for fishing and wildlife in eastern Washington.

Campfires are allowed in the Umatilla National Forest. For current regulations, call the messaging line at 877-958-9663.

This story was originally published July 14, 2022 6:05 p.m.

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Senior Writer Annette Cary covers Hanford, energy, environment, science and health for the Tri-City Herald. She was a journalist for over 30 years in the Pacific Northwest.