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As the Fourth of July approaches, fire officials want to remind forest visitors that fireworks are illegal in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
"The use of fireworks on national forest lands is a major concern to us," said Fire Staff Officer Keith Satterfield.
"Fireworks of any kind are illegal on all national forests."
Forest Service personnel will be on the lookout for the illegal possession or use of fireworks in the national forest. "Our folks have been instructed to confiscate any fireworks they discover," Satterfield said.
There are monetary penalties for fireworks possession on the national forest. Violators can be subject to a citation and fine with a maximum penalty of $5,000 or up to six months in jail. Anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable for suppression costs. Those costs can be substantial, often running into hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
"Although we've had a colder spring, grasses growing in the lower elevation areas have already started to dry out and could easily spread a wildfire ignited by fireworks. Also, the forecast for July and August is for hot summertime weather conditions which will cause fire danger to increase," said Satterfield.
Forest visitors are encouraged to enjoy local fireworks displays and save their fireworks for New Year's Eve.
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