Fire precaution level for woods workers is raised in Okanogan and Ferry cou

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) is increasing in northeast Washington.

Effective 12:01 a.m., Sept. 8, the IFPL will increase to a Level II in Zone 678W. Level II, named Partial Hootowl, limits most forest industrial activities to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. only. IFPL in Zone 684 will remain at a Level II.

With the continued hot and dry conditions, this additional restriction is being put in place to minimize the impact of wildfire. The restrictions will affect people who are using equipment in the woods, which may include firewood cutting and logging operations. The restriction is in place to reduce the risk of an accidental fire start by mechanical equipment during the hottest and driest part of the day.

Restrictions limit some forest activities to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. This includes the cutting of firewood in the forest.

The following may operate only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time:

· 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.

DNR reminds everyone that there is a statewide burn ban in effect on all DNR-protected lands. This ban is effective from July 1, 2011, through September 30, 2011. This applies to all forestlands in Washington except for federal lands.

Campgrounds may have additional burn restrictions in place. Always check with your campground host before starting a campfire.

For daily updates on burn restrictions, call 1-800-323-BURN or visit DNR’s webpage showing fire danger and burning restrictions by county: