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Fireworks Illegal in National Forests

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Fireworks Illegal in National Forests

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June 26, 2012

(Wenatchee, WA) As the Fourth of July approaches, fire officials want to remind forest visitors that fireworks are illegal in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

“The use of fireworks on national forest lands is a major concern to us,” said Fire Staff Officer Keith Satterfield.  “Fireworks of any kind are illegal on all national forests.”

Forest Service personnel will be on the lookout for the illegal possession or use of fireworks in the national forest.  “Our folks have been instructed to confiscate any fireworks they discover,” Satterfield said.

There are monetary penalties for fireworks possession on the national forest.  Violators can be subject to a citation and fine with a maximum penalty of $5,000 or up to six months in jail.  Anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable for suppression costs. Those costs can be substantial, often running into hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

“Although we’ve had a colder spring, grasses growing in the lower elevation areas have already started to dry out and could easily spread a wildfire ignited by fireworks.  Also, the forecast for July and August is for hot summertime weather conditions which will cause fire danger to increase,” said Satterfield.

Forest visitors are encouraged to enjoy local fireworks displays and save their fireworks for New Year’s Eve.

“We want people to enjoy the holiday but we also want them to leave their fireworks at home,” he said.

Fire officials are also concerned about campfire use on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. It is not uncommon for firefighters to extinguish one or two abandoned campfires almost every weekend.  Campers must ensure their campfire is completely out and cold to the touch before leaving campsites.

Remember, if you are going to have a campfire:

  • Use an existing fire ring or construct a fire ring out of rocks.
  • Clear all vegetation away from the ring and don’t build a campfire underneath low hanging tree branches.
  • Keep water and a shovel nearby.

When you put your campfire out:

  • Drown it with water.
  • Stir the embers after they are covered with water and make sure everything is wet.
  • Feel the coals and embers with your hands.  They should be cool to the touch.

When you think you are done, take an extra minute and add more water.

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