OLYMPIA— Hunters need to use extra caution when they set out for what is expected to be an exceptional duck season opener Saturday (Oct. 3) and other upcoming openers, because the recent long run of warm weather has created tinder-dry conditions outdoors for wildfires.
Although duck hunters are likely to see some rain for Saturday's opener, some closures of lands affected by recent dry weather are still in effect, said Don Kraege, waterfowl manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"Duck hunters who plan on accessing hunting sites by traveling through private timber lands first need to check for closures with property owners," said Kraege.
Unless we get significant rainfall, the need for special fire precaution is even more important for hunters setting out in fields and forests for the upland bird season Oct. 10; the deer season opener Oct. 17; and the elk season openers Oct. 31 and Nov. 7.
Campfire restrictions are in place in many areas of the state, and some private timberlands remain closed due to fire danger. On private lands, hunters should seek landowners' permission before building a campfire.
A few simple precautions can ensure that a campfire doesn't spark a brush or forest fire:
- Build campfires only in sites free of overhanging branches or brush. There should be at least a 10-foot clearance around the fire.
- Keep all campfires smaller than 4 feet in diameter.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Use water to extinguish a fire, then shovel dirt onto it.