PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An increased risk of wildfires has led the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to issue a ban on outdoor burning at all state campgrounds, parks, and management areas.

The ban goes into effect on Saturday, Aug. 20. It comes about 24 hours after an unattended campfire in Burrillville caused a brush fire that burned roughly eight acres of land.

Campers will, however, be permitted to use portable gas cooking stoves and grills in designated areas, the DEM said.

The agency will continue to monitor the drought conditions to decide when the ban can be lifted.

So far this year, more than 70 reported wildfires have burned about 42 acres of land in Rhode Island, according to the DEM.

The DEM offered some important safety tips:

  • Charcoals used for cooking must be cold before being discarded
  • Smokers should always use ashtrays
  • Check with the local fire department to obtain a burn permit
    • Fire departments have the authority to deny permits when conditions are too dangerous
  • Become familiar with and understand the risk of wildfires and take steps to mitigate their impacts

Rhode Island remains in an extreme drought, and the DEM says the state has been experiencing an increase in wildfires as a result.

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