Two City Council members have initiated a move to ban smoking and camp fires in our forest lands.
In the aftermath of this weekend’s fire at Little Cranberry Lake, Councilmembers Liz Lovelett and Ryan Walters introduced an ordinance at Monday night's City Council meeting that would prohibit smoking and camp fires within the Anacortes Community Forest Lands. Both would become a ticketable offense subject to a $250 fine.
Firefighters from multiple agencies have been fighting the Little Cranberry fire for several days, and currently have the fire 95% contained. The cause is not yet identified.
While many people may think that smoking and fires are already prohibited in the Forest Lands, in reality, the City does not have an ordinance on point. “It’s essential that we respond with policy to address the potential of more fires in the forestlands,” Councilmember Walters said. “We cannot afford additional events of this magnitude, or worse.”
The City of Anacortes maintains nearly 2,800 acres of forestland, much of which is protected by conservation easements held by Skagit Land Trust.
The ordinance as proposed would apply only to the forestland, and not to City parks, such as Washington Park, which does allow camping and campfires.
The City Council Parks and Recreation Committee is expected to consider the proposal at its next meeting.