OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is easing fire restrictions on all agency-managed lands in eastern Washington, where recent rains have reduced the risk of wildfires.
Restrictions on the following activities - enacted Aug. 8 in response to extreme fire danger - are no longer in effect:
- Smoking outside an enclosed vehicle.
- Target shooting outside designated shooting ranges, except on the Wenas Wildlife Area, where a temporary rule prohibits the activity through Sept. 30.
- Use of welding equipment, chainsaws, and other equipment powered by combustion engines.
- Operating a motor vehicle off developed roads.
Clay Sprague, WDFW land manager, said the department's action is consistent with changes in fire rules approved this week by the state Department of Natural Resources, which provides fire protection for many state wildlife areas.
Sprague emphasized that while some restrictions have been lifted, the ban on campfires remains in effect east of the Cascade Mountains, where hot weather is predicted across the region.
"These changes reflect an easing of fire danger in eastern Washington, but we still urge campers and others heading outdoors to be extremely cautious in any activity that could spark a wildfire," Sprague said.
WDFW eased all fire restrictions on its lands in western Washington on Aug. 15, when wetter, cooler weather reduced fire danger.
Any further updates will be posted on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/. For more information on fires currently burning in Washington, visit websites for the state Incident Information System (http://www.inciweb.org/state/49/), the state Department of Natural Resources (http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Pages/default.aspx) and the U.S. Forest Service (http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/okawen/home).