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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.

Meals on Wheels fundraiser this weekend

Meals on Wheels fundraiser this weekend

For the sixth year in a row, Meals on Wheels Spokane is hosting their annual fundraiser this Saturday in Millwood.

From 8 am until 3 pm, Millwood shuts down Dalton Street for food, festivities and fun benefiting Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels Spokane provides nutritional and social interaction for local seniors and their downtown location and for those who are homebound. They serve 500 meals daily and more than 116,000 each year.

Check out the schedule of events, you're sure to find something for everyone:

Washington state parks free to visit Monday

Washington state parks free to visit Monday

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission wants the public to know that Monday, August 25 is a state parks “free day,” Visitors will not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks.

The free day is in honor of the birthday of the National Park Service, which was established on August 25, 1916.

State free days are part of the legislation that created the Discover Pass, a $30 annual of $10 one-day permit required on lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington departments of Natural Resources and Fish & Wildlife. The Discover Pass legislation provided that state parks could designate up to 12 free days each year when the pass would not be required. The pass is still required to access lands managed by DNR and Fish and Wildlife.

The free days apply only to day use, and not to overnight stays or rental facilities.

The next free days coming up on September 27 for National Public Lands Day and November 11 for Veterans Day.

Volunteers needed for SNAP ombudsman program

Volunteers needed for SNAP ombudsman program

SNAP is largely known for their services helping low-income individuals and families, but did you know they also offer a vital service for the elderly?

Lisa Petrie has been the regional Long Term Care Ombudsman for Eastern Washington since 1990, responsible for overseeing 284 nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family homes across Spokane, Pend Oreille, Ferry, Stevens and Whitman counties.

“This population is so very vulnerable, and it's so hard for them to speak up for what they need. The ombudsman is that voice,” said Petrie. “The whole idea is to visit with residents and make sure that they have the quality of care and quality of life that they deserve. Residents have rights, and we make sure they know that.”

Petrie has 38 volunteers that all make weekly and monthly visits to facilities from Colville to Colfax, getting to know the staff and residents. From their official paperwork, the responsibilities of ombudsman include:

Avista recap and thanks for Saturday storm

Avista recap and thanks for Saturday storm

Avista once again is expressing their gratefulness for customer patience and support after recovering from the second major storm in just two weeks.

It took only three days to restore power to all 48,000 customers impacted by the August 2 storm, which rolled across the inland northwest just six days after the July 23 storm. The last storm resulted in the worst damage to the system since an ice storm in 1996.

“It's an amazing achievement to restore power to all of our customers within a matter of days following the one-two punch we received from Mother Nature,” said Avista Utilities President Dennis Vermillion. “Given the magnitude of damage from these back-to-back storms, I have the deepest respect for all of our employees who were involved in restoration efforts, especially our Avista crews and the contract crews who worked tirelessly in the heat to turn on the lights and get the air conditioning and fans blowing for our customers.”