— As temperatures soar and winds gusting into the 20s, Washington State has announced a three-day ban on outdoor camping and showers in the state.
The move is part of a new initiative by Gov.
Jay Inslee, a Democrat, and state parks that will be rolled out through the summer.
The ban is scheduled to begin Friday and end Monday.
The state is trying to mitigate the impacts of a winter that has seen temperatures soar to more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a potential threat to campers, who have already faced snow storms.
The snowfall, especially in winter, can be brutal, said Matt Schulz, an assistant state park superintendent.
“The snowpack in some parts of Washington is literally melting right now,” Schulz said.
Inslee said the move would also help guard against a repeat of last year’s snowstorm that caused a series of fires.
Insley said the state’s snowpack will likely continue to be depleted over the summer, with snowpack estimates ranging from 1.4 to 2.1 inches below normal.
He said the new measures will help protect campers and protect wildlife and the environment.
Inslees office released a map showing where campsites will be closed and the date on which they will reopen.
Campers will still be able to camp in designated areas, but camping is only allowed between 4 p.m. and 8 p..m., and people can’t camp overnight.
Insles administration said the restrictions will also be in place for state-owned and federal parks and public lands.
The governor said the camping ban is being put in place to “help ensure that the best resource for our state remains our people and their natural resources.”
The move comes as the snowpack has dropped by as much as 50 percent in the past week.
Insle said the snowfall is likely the result of the weather conditions, but it’s not entirely clear.
He also said that the federal government is sending help to states to help reduce the effects of the snow.
“I’ve already had several federal agencies come in and say, ‘We’re going to help you,’ ” he said.
“We’re sending them a huge package of assistance.”
Inslee’s administration has said that it will make public-safety and emergency management plans in the coming days to help state agencies respond to the crisis.
The new camping ban will begin Saturday and end on Monday.
It will cover most of the state except the coastal counties of Alki, Clark, Dawson, Klamath, Otoe and Tumwater.
It includes more than 100 campsites.
The number of outdoor camping permits issued has increased over the past year and a half, according to state parks officials.
But the ban will affect the vast majority of people who use the parks.
In the last week, the number of permits issued for campers in Washington has dropped dramatically, according for the state parks department.
Inski’s office said it expects the ban to be effective over the next few weeks.
“As the snow continues to melt, and as the water recedes from our state’s rivers and streams, the likelihood of this state going through another extreme event is very low,” Inslee spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
Washington state is one of several states where the snow is falling, and snowfall has been blamed for wildfires in the South and Midwest.
In May, wildfires in California, Colorado and Oregon burned more than 5,000 acres.
On Saturday, snow fell across much of California and Washington state, with the heaviest snowfalls in southern Oregon and Washington.
Snow in Washington was a significant factor in a fire that burned about 40 square miles of farmland in northern Oregon in late June, officials said.
It was one of two fires in the region that were fueled by the snow and rain.