Ross Huffman, 509-457-9313
YAKIMA – A wildfire that started July 23 in Yakima County has prompted the temporary closure of about 50,000 acres of the Wenas Wildlife Area near Selah to protect firefighters and help ensure public safety.
Ross Huffman, regional lands operations manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said access to the eastern end of the wildlife area will be restricted until approximately Aug. 25, while firefighters mop up the blaze and guard against flare-ups. Yakima Valley Emergency Management will post updates on the wildfire to their Facebook page.
The four graveled parking areas and wildlife area entrances are closed at Durr Road, Sheep Company Road, and Buffalo Road. Numerous roads and trails are also closed around the Wenas Wildlife Area, including Umtanum Ridge Road, Roza Creek Road, and Buffalo Ridge Road. Durr Road is open to all vehicles, and the Skyline Trail remains open.
Wildlife area manager Cindi Confer Morris said the estimated size of the wildfire, known as the Pipeline fire, was 7,100 acres as of July 26. The wildfire was likely caused by lightning.
WDFW manages approximately 1 million acres of land and over 600 water access sites across the state that provide fish and wildlife habitat, as well as fishing, hunting, wildlife-viewing, and other outdoor activities for thousands of Washingtonians and visitors every year.
WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities.