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Campfire restrictions eased

— The state Department of Natural Resources and federal Bureau of Land Management eased campfire restrictions today allowing fires in some designated campgrounds east of the Cascade Crest.

Despite the easing of restrictions, officials said the fire danger remains high.

Small recreational campfires are now allowed in campgrounds with built-in fire rings, officials said, noting recent rainfall and moderate temperatures opened the door for campfires this holiday weekend.

"All other outdoor burning" remains prohibited on Natural Resources land under a statewide burn ban, officials said. Exploding targets, sky lanterns and tracer rounds are also banned.

The ban is scheduled to run through Sept. 30.

Bureau of Land Management officials concurred, lifting the ban on federally managed campgrounds with fire rings in most of Eastern Washington, including Douglas, Grant, Ferry and Okanogan Counties.

The federal agency also reopened land it manages for off-road vehicle use.

"Off-road travel from designated routes will also be allowed provided users are equipped to suppress a fire, should one occur," a written statement from the agency said.

Being "equipped" means carrying a shovel and a gallon of water or 2.5 pound fire extinguisher on an off-road vehicle, officials said. And ATVs must have flame arrestors.

Bureau officials are still prohibiting the parking of vehicles off of developed roads. Smoking is also banned.

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