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Burn ban on DNR forestland east of Cascades starts July 1

Burn ban on DNR forestland east of Cascades starts July 1

Another warning in the face of the upcoming Fourth of July weekend – the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has placed a burn ban on all DNR-protected land east of the Cascades.

Starting July 1 and running until September 30, the burn ban applies to all forestland under DNR fire protection.

“The seasonally dry weather creates a greater risk for wildfires,” said Commission of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “A burn ban helps to prevent them and protects forests, habitat and property.”

So far this year DNR has already had 172 wildfire starts, which have burned approximately 779 acres across the state.

The ban applies to all outdoor burning on DNR forestland with two exceptions:

Recreational fires in approved fire pits

Gas or propane stoves and barbecue grills

Fireworks and incendiary devices like exploding targets, sky lanterns or tracer ammunition are also illegal.

Warning for campers at Lake Roosevelt 4th of July weekend

Warning for campers at Lake Roosevelt 4th of July weekend

If you're headed to Lake Roosevelt for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, the Washington Bureau of Reclamation wants to make sure your campsite stays high and dry.

They're advising people camping along the Lake Roosevelt shoreline to be aware of potential dangers that could exist due to rapidly rising lake levels. The lake is impounded by Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River about 90 miles west of Spokane.

“When camping along the shoreline, it is recommended that tents and other belongings be kept well away from the water's edge,” said Public Affairs Officer Lynne Brougher. “Although the lake is a popular vacation spot, it is also a working reservoir that supplies water for hydroelectric facilities at Grand Coulee Dam which can result in rapid fluctuations.”

Brougher says campsites that are too close to the water's edge could potentially become flooded and boats that are not properly anchored or secured could drift out into the lake and become a safety hazard.

Firework sales blast off this weekend

Firework sales blast off this weekend

The Fourth of July is just a week away, and firework sales begin this weekend!

Washington State Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy wants to remind residents to know the local laws before purchasing and discharging fireworks, and to make sure you are only using legal fireworks. This year, 937 licenses were issued for retail firework stands.

A fireworks ban has been in place in the unincorporated areas of Spokane County for 21 years, as well as Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney and Liberty Lake.

Fireworks are legal on private property in Airway Heights, Medical Lake and Deer Park.

Bottle rockets, missiles and firecrackers are illegal anywhere in Washington state.

In Coeur d'Alene, non-aerial fireworks are allowed on private property but not in public places like Tubbs Hill or City Park.

If you do find yourself in an area where fireworks are allowed, there are some guidelines you to keep in mind to make sure your family has a safe and fun Fourth.

Riverside State Park ready to open new ORV training facility

Riverside State Park ready to open new ORV training facility

In an effort to reduce accidents Riverside State Park is opening a new beginner-level riding area for off road vehicles at the current ORV park just off Seven Mile Road.

Riverside is the only state park that has an off road vehicle riding facility, and they wanted to make it as safe as possible, for all riders.

The off road training facility, which has been in the works for several years, is the first new addition to Riverside State Park since it opened in the 1980s.

The training facility was two years in development and it took a whole year to construct. Steve May at the ORV training facility said its one of the first in the entire country. The idea originated as a way to minimize accidents on the course.

"Part of the conflict was we had little people mixed in with big bikes and that kind of thing, now we have a special area just for brand new riders," he explained.

The project was funded through ORV tag fees or as May said, it was built by users for users.

Every aspect of the course was built with the beginner in mind, from the path to the smooth ground and wide turns.

Libraries will trade food for your fine

Libraries will trade food for your fine

Your overdue books could help feed hungry Spokane area families.

This is National Library Week, and in celebrations, Spokane County Library District is holding the 2nd annual Food for Fines event.

For every non-perishable item of food, the district will forgive $1.00 of your fine, up to a maximum of $10.00 per library card. Fees eligible for the program include accumulated overdue charges and fees for damaged items (unless the account is already in collections).

Spokane County libraries offer eReader assistance

Spokane County libraries offer eReader assistance

The Spokane County Library District wants to help you put the new tablet or eReader that you unwrapped on Christmas morning to good use. The Spokane Valley Library and the North Spokane Library are hosting two weekends of workshops to show Spokane County residents how to download eBooks and audiobooks directly to their devices.

Car prowlings skyrocket in Spokane County and Valley

News release from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office:

To date, Spokane County residents, including Spokane City and Spokane Valley, have reported over 180 vehicle prowlings since the beginning of the year.  The past two years the number of reported incidents were 107 for the entire year.

A large majority of these crimes have occurred at Centennial Trailheads.  Citizens have been victimized by either leaving their door unlocked, windows down or valuables inside their vehicle in plain sight. 

With the holiday season approaching, the Sheriff's Office would like to remind citizens to leave valuables out of plain sight inside their vehicles, to detach GPS units from their dashboard if possible and to place their garage door opener in an alternate location other than their visor.

As always, if you witness suspicious activity you are urged to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.