Washington State increases fire danger rating, industrial fire precaution levels on DNR lands in several counties, restricting tools and activities, including power saws, associated with logging and other industrial operations

OLYMPIA, Washington , July 9, 2014 (press release) – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today the following changes in 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.

DNR’s Wildfire Mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department, with more than 1,000 employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes more than 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 400 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties. Additionally, adult offenders from the Department of Corrections and juvenile offenders from the Department of Social and Health Services-Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration support firefighting efforts through DNR’s Correctional Camps Program. DNR also participates in Washington's coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.

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