Local News

Fire danger rating increases in Okanogan and Ferry Counties


Jul 07, 2014

Starting on Wednesday the fire danger rating for Okanogan county will increase to High and the rating in Ferry county will be going to Moderate.

The Department of Natural Resources announced the changes on Monday, for both the fire danger rating and industrial fire precaution levels on DNR-protected lands. 

Effective 12:01 a.m. on July 9, 2014, the following fire danger changes will be implemented:

  • The fire danger will increase from ‘moderate’ to ‘high’ in Spokane, Okanogan, Northern Lincoln, and Fire Districts 1 and 2 in Stevens County.
  • The fire danger will increase from ‘low’ to ‘moderate’ in Pend Oreille, Ferry and Stevens Counties outside of Fire Districts 1 and 2.

 

Effective 12:01 a.m. on July 9, 2014, the following industrial fire precaution level changes will be implemented:

  • Portions of Okanogan County (Zone 684) Industrial Forest Precaution Level (IFPL) will increase to Level 2, called Partial Hootowl, which limits most forest industrial activities to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.

 

Level 2 restrictions limit the following activities and may operate only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.:

  • Power saws, except at loading sites
  • Cable yarding
  • Blasting
  • Welding or cutting of metal

Those using chainsaws in the forest, including cutting firewood, must follow certain rules:

  • Chainsaws must have approved, working exhaust systems.
  • A one-hour fire watch must follow the last use of a chainsaw.
  • A fire extinguisher, containing at least 8 ounces of retardant, must be in the immediate vicinity of where the chainsaw is used.
  • A shovel must be retrievable in two minutes or less.

 

The IFPL system
Industrial Fire Precaution Levels apply to all industrial operations that might cause a fire on or adjacent to lands protected from fire by DNR (WAC 332-24-301); this applies to logging and other industrial operations.

The levels are established for each of 38 “shutdown zones” in the state on the basis of National Fire Danger Rating System data.

There are four IFPL levels:

  • Level 1 (closed fire season):  fire equipment and a fire watch are required
  • Level 2 (partial hoot owl):  limits certain activities to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.; fire equipment and a fire watch are required
  • Level 3 (partial shutdown):  prohibits some activities and limits others to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.; fire equipment and a fire watch are required
  • Level 4 (general shutdown):  prohibits all activities

The same system is used by DNR, the U.S. Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management, and the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. This provides consistency for workers operating on lands regulated by the various agencies. For specific information regarding components of the IFPL system, please visit DNR’s website.

Daily updates on burn restrictions are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on DNR’s website at www.dnr.wa.gov; then click on ‘fire information and prevention’ and go to ‘wildfire related maps.’ The ‘burn risk map’ link is in the bottom, right-hand corner.

Remember, there is a burn ban on DNR-protected lands east of the Cascades through September 30, 2014.


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