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OLYMPIA – Two agencies have announced new fire restrictions for Okanogan County and other areas.

The state Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with other agencies, implemented new burn restrictions June 21 on DNR-protected lands in the valley fire danger rating area. Under the change, all campfires, including those in campgrounds, are prohibited in Okanogan County.

Campfires still are permitted in designated campgrounds in Douglas and Chelan counties.

The fire danger increased from moderate to high in the Chelan fire danger rating area.

DNR has implemented a new fire danger rating system based on geographic areas rather than counties. The change was developed with the intent of having a common fire behavior component, and was developed through interagency collaboration and to help clarify messages with multiple agencies.

Daily updates on burn restrictions and industrial fire precaution levels are available at 800-323-BURN (2876) or on the fire danger and outdoor burning risk map at https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/ and industrial fire precaution levels map at https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/ifpl/.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Spokane District has a fire restrictions order on public lands administered by the BLM and the Bureau of Reclamation in eastern Washington.

The order became effective at 12:01 a.m. today, June 22, in Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima counties.

Caution is advised at all times when operating motor vehicles on roads or trails with vegetation or high grasses, the agency said. People are asked not to bring fireworks or exploding targets onto public lands at any time.

While campfires are allowed under the order in certain places and circumstances, the public is still asked to ensure any campfires are completely extinguished and cold before departure from a camping area, said agency officials.

Target shooting with the use of exploding targets is prohibited. Target shooters who start wildfires may be responsible for the cost of fire suppression.

Wildfires caused by recreational target shooting in dry grasses have steadily increased in the Spokane District over the last few years.

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