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Leavenworth one of the most affordable for leaf peeping this fall

Leavenworth one of the most affordable for leaf peeping this fall

If you're looking for a fall getaway without breaking the bank, vacation specialists at TripAdvisor have named Leavenworth one of the top spots in the country to take in some colorful sights.

According to TripAdvisor, 83 percent of those surveyed plan to take a leisure trip this fall, with 31 percent planning to travel for the joy of viewing fall foliage. To help travelers plan, TripIndex compared the cost of a weekend getaway for two in 15 of the most popular leaf-peeping destinations in the US, including the combined average cost of a two-night stay in a bed and breakfast, a full tank of gas, apple picking and a meal at a restaurant.

Leavenworth came in at an affordable $476.89, but you'd better make your reservations now before the winter flakes start to fall.

Dept. of Natural Resources lifts statewide burn ban

Dept. of Natural Resources lifts statewide burn ban

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that the statewide burn ban on DNR-protected lands has been removed. Fire danger has been reduced by the recent rainfall and moderating temperatures.

Restrictions set by local authorities are not affected by DNR's actions. Additionally, while conditions no longer warrant a statewide burn ban, some local areas may still remain dry. Anyone who plans on burning should check with local authorities beforehand.

You can also always find the latest on your local fire restrictions here.

USDA offering financial assistance for farmers impacted by wildfires

USDA offering financial assistance for farmers impacted by wildfires

The United States Department of Agriculture wants to help farmers impacted by this year's brutal wildfire season in central and eastern Washington.

The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Services is now accepting applications from agriculture producers in Kittitas, Grant, Chelan, Okanogan and Douglas counties impacted by wildfires in 2014. Financial assistance is offered through the Wildfire Initiative of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help resource concerns on private and tribal land.

NRCS will be offering two financial assistance options:

Option 1 – General EQIP

The key conservation practice available for assistance under this option is deferred grazing. This practice allows grasses time to recover while livestock producers seek alternate feed sources. And for the first time, NRCS is also offering broadcast seeding as part of this initiative.

Option 2 – Wildfire Special Initiative

Avista safety tips during National Preparedness Month

Avista safety tips during National Preparedness Month

This month marks the 11th annual National Preparedness Month and creates an opportunity for Avista to remind customers about the importance of being prepared for unexpected emergencies, like the recent storms that rolled through sections of their Washington and Idaho services area.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security sponsor this national initiative and uses September to remind all Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies at home, school, work and in our communities.

As we have experienced recently, weather events like summer storms can ravage entire communities with effects lasting for days. Being prepared for severe weather like thunderstorms, wind, ice and snow storms or other natural disasters can help our residents and their families deal with the results of such events.

Public comment needed on Mt. Spokane State Park expansion

Public comment needed on Mt. Spokane State Park expansion

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is inviting the public to comment on two proposals for Mount Spokane State Park.

The following are combined under one draft environmental impact statement which considers the potential impact of:

  • The expansion of Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard park, adding one ski lift and seven ski trails in a 279-acre area.
  • A formal land classification and reclassification of a portion of the state park known as the Potential Alpine Ski Expansion Area (PASEA).

The deadline for comments is September 15.

You can find more information on the proposals, the draft environmental impact statement documents and a link to submit your comments here.

Fire restrictions lifted in Colville Nat'l Forest

Fire restrictions lifted in Colville Nat'l Forest

Just in time for the holiday weekend, fire restrictions have been lifted for the Colville National Forest.

“With the wetting rains and cooler daytime temperatures we have been experiencing in the Colville National Forest, the anticipated fire danger is reduced enough to allow visitors to once again enjoy campfires in the forest,” said Fire Management Officer Tim Sampson. “Firewood cutters are also able to run chainsaws after 1 pm.”

Forest visitors must still use caution and exercise sound fire precautions, however, on National forest System Lands. Good fire building and extinguishing practices are advised such as:

  • Keeping campfires small
  • Using existing fire rings
  • Have a bucket, shovel, water and fire extinguisher readily available
  • Attend and fully extinguish all fires

Leave the firewood at home to keep forests safe

Leave the firewood at home to keep forests safe

The Idaho Department of Lands is reminding outdoor enthusiasts who are planning to camp this Labor Day weekend to leave the firewood at home!

As millions of Americans head into the wilderness for a weekend of fun, many bring their own firewood, not realizing that they put the nation's forests at risk by potentially spreading tree-killing pests. While most of these pests can't travel far on their own, many can hitchhike undetected on firewood, later emerging and starting infestations in new locations hundreds of miles away.

The Don't Move Firewood campaign began in 2007 as a response to the rapid spread of the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle brought to the US in pre-packaged wood and responsible for killing 100 million ash trees since the early 1990's.

More than 450 other non-native forest insects and diseases are also established in the United States, many spread the same way.