Regional News

Fire danger rating increases in northeast Washington

Jun 10, 2015

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today the following changes in fire danger rating, burn restrictions and industrial fire precaution levels on DNR-protected lands. 

Effective at 12:01 a.m. on June 10, 2015, the following fire danger rating changes will be implemented:

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

Effective 12:01 a.m. on June 10, 2015, the following industrial fire precaution level (IFPL) changes will be implemented:

  • The industrial fire precaution level in portions of Okanogan County (Zone 684) will increase from a Level 1 to a Level 2, which is called “partial hoot owl.” This 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 spark emitting equipment 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 eight 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, 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.

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