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Even though we've had rain, hail, and snow in recent days, the wildfire season officially started Monday. And as of last week, there have already been 17 wildfires reported this year.

After last year's devestating fire season, local fire crews have already begun preparing for the coming season.

Last year, almost 800 fires burned more than 68,000 acres in Washington State, and 79 percent of those fires on land protected by the Department of Natural Resources were caused by humans.

The start of the fire season today means that Washington's fire rules are in effect. If you are on the nearly 13 million acres of DNR-protected private and state land, you must follow these rules.

Anyone using motorized equipment must have approved spark arresters and fire prevention and extinguishing equipment. Smoking is restricted in forested areas and lighting off fireworks on forest land is prohibited.

The summer fire rules are in effect from April 15 to October 15. They are intended to prevent forest fires and extinguish fires before they spread.

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