Washington State DNR increases fire precaution level for forestry activity to Level 2 in Lincoln County, most of Spokane County, portions of Stevens and Ferry counties, effective Sept. 21

OLYMPIA, Washington , September 20, 2012 (press release) – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that, effective 12:01 a.m., September 21, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will be increased to a Level 2 in Lincoln County, most of Spokane County, and portions of Stevens and Ferry counties.

Level 2, called Partial Hootowl, limits most forest industrial activities to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. only (map):

All of Lincoln County, most of Spokane County, and parts of Stevens and Ferry counties (Zone 686).
Okanogan County outside the Colville Reservation (Zone 678W).

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 eight ounces of retardant, must be in the immediate vicinity of where the chainsaw is being used.
A shovel must be retrievable in two minutes or less.

The IFPL system

Industrial Fire Precaution Level applies to all industrial operations that may 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 is required
Level 2 (partial hoot owl): limits certain activities to between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m.; fire equipment and a fire watch is 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 is required
Level 4 (general shutdown): prohibits all activities

The same system is used by DNR, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Affairs. This provides consistency for workers operating on lands regulated by the different 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.

DNR burn ban still in effect in Washington
The Governor has issued a burn ban for all counties east of the crest of the Cascades until midnight, September 24, 2012. For both sides of the Cascades, DNR has issued a statewide burn ban on all DNR-protected lands; the ban is currently in effect through September 30, 2012, and includes all forestlands in Washington except for federal lands.

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