Wildlife Program, 360-902-2515
SPOKANE – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will restrict campfires and other activities on department-managed lands in Eastern Washington beginning Friday, June 25 to help reduce the risk of fire on state wildlife and water access areas.
"Observing fire restrictions and exercising common sense will go a long way toward preserving public recreation lands, wildlife habitat, public health, and safety for local communities," said Cynthia Wilkerson, WDFW’s Lands Division Manager. “WDFW-managed lands are often closer to communities and lower in elevation than other public lands, so we take these precautions very seriously.”
Wilkerson said the threat of wildfires is happening earlier this year due to extremely warm temperatures and a lack of precipitation. A drought advisory has been in effect for several weeks for many counties across the state. Weather forecasts predict that many areas across the state will experience temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for multiple days in a row this weekend and next week.
A temporary restriction on firearm use also starts Friday, June 25 on all WDFW-managed lands in Eastern Washington. Target shooting and other gun use will be prohibited, but discharge of a firearm for legal hunting will still be permitted.
Overall, the emergency order that imposes restrictions east of the Cascades 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.
All temporary restrictions will remain in effect until the risk of wildfire decreases, Wilkerson said. Any changes to these restrictions will be posted on the department's website at wdfw.wa.gov.
Fireworks are prohibited year-round at all WDFW wildlife and water access areas around the state. Throwing a lit cigarette or any other burning material from a motor vehicle on a state highway is also prohibited year-round.
WDFW stewards over 700,000 acres of public land in Eastern Washington which are managed to protect lands and water for wildlife and people.
For more information about fires and fire prevention on public lands, visit the Washington Department of Natural Resources' website (http://www.dnr.wa.gov) or the U.S. Forest Service website (http://www.fs.usda.gov).
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.