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June 13, 2017
Contact: Scott McCorquodale, (509) 575-2740

WDFW restricts target shooting
on the Wenas Wildlife Area

OLYMPIA – To reduce the risk of wildfires, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will again restrict target shooting on the Wenas Wildlife Area near Yakima and Ellensburg.

The restriction, which will be in effect June 15 through Sept. 30, will limit target shooting to the hours between sunrise and 10 a.m., when the risk of starting a wildfire is less severe.

Public notice of the limited hours will be posted at all entry points and at other target shooting sites in the wildlife area.

The department has restricted target shooting every summer since 2012, and closed the wildlife area to all shooting in the summers of 2014 and 2015 due to extreme fire danger, said Cindi Confer Morris, manager of the WDFW wildlife area.

"With vegetation drying out and temperatures heating up, conditions are prime for sparking a fire," Confer Morris said. "These fire restrictions are necessary to help protect public recreation lands and wildlife habitat."

State land managers ask that all visitors to the wildlife area take precautions to avoid igniting a wildfire. Information about local fire danger is available at https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/

WDFW adopted the rule in cooperation with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which owns lands within the 114,150-acre wildlife area.

This spring, WDFW formed an advisory group to recommend any changes needed to target shooting strategies within the Wenas Wildlife Area. The advisory group consists of 20 members, who represent diverse interests including affected landowners, hunters, target shooters, horseback riders, mountain bike riders, hikers, wildlife watchers, bird dog trainers, and motorized users.

More information about the advisory group, along with a schedule of meetings, can be found on WDFW's webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/wtsc/

Campfire restrictions are already in place at the Wenas in addition to the Colockum, L.T. Murray, Oak Creek and Sunnyside-Snake River wildlife areas through Oct. 15, and at the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area through Oct. 31. Fireworks and incendiary devices – including tracer rounds and exploding targets – are also prohibited to reduce wildfire risks.

For more information on WDFW wildlife areas, see the department's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/