Paul Dahmer, 360-902-2480; Rachel Blomker, 360-701-3101
SPOKANE— Most wildlife areas managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in Eastern Washington are open for extended day use hours (4 a.m. to 10 p.m.) starting Wednesday, Sept. 1.
In July, WDFW closed wildlife areas in Eastern Washington to overnight use amid high wildfire danger, limiting public access to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
“We’re extending day use hours to make destinations accessible for hunters heading out early in the day,” said Paul Dahmer, WDFW land stewardship and operations manager. “However, the overnight camping closure and campfire ban are still in effect until the fire risk decreases, and we encourage everyone to recreate responsibly.”
An emergency order is still in effect and being enforced on Department-managed lands east of the Cascades, which prohibits:
- Fires or campfires, including those in fire rings. Personal camp stoves and lanterns fueled by propane, liquid petroleum, or liquid petroleum gas are allowed.
- Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle.
- The discharge of firearms for target-shooting or other purposes by anyone not engaged in lawful hunting.
- Welding and operating chainsaws, including the use of an acetylene torch or other open flame.
- Operating a motor vehicle away from developed roads. Parking is permitted within designated parking areas, including developed campgrounds and trailheads; and in areas without vegetation that are within 10 feet of roadways.
Members of the public engaged in these high-risk activities will be ticketed as WDFW enforcement officers are applying a zero-tolerance approach.
Dahmer advises people to check WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/wildfire for more details before heading out to their destination. Several wildlife area units remain closed to all public access until further notice due to active wildfires or high fire danger.
WDFW stewards over 700,000 acres of public land in Eastern Washington which are managed to protect lands and water for wildlife and people. WDFW works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.