A burn ban is now in place for lower Kittitas County.

The ban went into effect on Saturday and will remain active until further notice.

Kittitas County Fire Marshal Dan Young says the ban was enacted due to landscape conditions that are contributing to an elevated risk of wildfires.

"(The) DNR (Department of Natural Resources) has put this area of the county into a very high fire risk category. This move is based on fuel loads that are out there like twigs, grasses, and trees all being dried out. Even with the little bit of rain we've gotten in the last few days, it's still not enough to soak into the fuels."

All open burning, such as pile and debris burning, is strictly prohibited during the ban. This includes the burning of any and all combustible materials, such as garbage, litter, paper, leaves, grass, twigs, branches, and other vegetation.

Despite the long list of items which are not allowed for burning during the ban, Young says several forms of recreation burning are still permissible.

"People can still use their charcoal barbeques and smokers, as well as propane fire pits. Campfires are also okay in approved fire rings at approved campgrounds."

The use of gas stoves is also still allowed during the ban, which encompasses the area of Elk Heights east to the Columbia River, along with the communities of Thorp, Ellensburg, Kittitas, and Vantage and surrounding vicinities.

The Fire Marshal’s Office will continue to monitor conditions and modify the burn ban as necessary.

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