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 July 1 to help reduce the risk of fire on state wildlife areas 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, Lands Division Manager for WDFW.
Wilkerson said the threat of wildfires and smoke is even greater this year given the compromised health of those with the COVID-19 virus. The ongoing pandemic also puts firefighters at a greater risk to respond to human-caused wildfires, she said.
A temporary restriction on firearm use also starts Wednesday, July 1 on WDFW-managed lands. 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 areas 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 is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.