The Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest is reminding visitors about fireworks as the 4th of July approaches. 

"The main message for us is, come enjoy the national forest but leave your fireworks at home, because fireworks, exploding targets and other pyrotechnic devices are illegal in the national forest," said National Forest spokesperson Robin DeMario. 

She says some local laws may allow fireworks close to the forest, but are never allowed inside. 

Fireworks are not allowed in all areas of Chelan County, which has a lengthy border with the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest. 

Much of the county itself lies within the national forest. Roughly 80 percent of the county’s land mass is federally owned property. 

DeMario says there are some other areas near the national forest that may allow fireworks, such as the wildland urban interface (WUI). 

"That's where the forest sort of, meets private lands where people have homes and such," De Mario said. "So, we just encourage people to make sure they know whether they can or cannot have fireworks where they live."  

The forest service says brush and other fuels in lower elevation areas of the forest are drying out and could easily spread wildfire ignited by fireworks or exploding targets. 

Currently, there are no restrictions on the use of campfires in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, but historically, campfire restrictions go into effect in July as wildfire danger increases.  

The forest service says it's the job of campers to ensure their campfire is completely out and cold to the touch before leaving campsites. 

Tips for forest visitors planning to have a campfire: 

Make sure campfires are allowed in the area camping will occur. 

  • In developed campgrounds, use an existing fire ring. In wilderness, 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 extinguishing a campfire: 

  • Drown it with water. 
  • Stir the embers to ensure everything is wet. 
  • Feel the coals and embers, they should be cool to the touch. If it‘s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave! 
  • When done, take an extra minute and add more water 

More campfire safety tips are here.

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