All eastern Washington wildlife areas managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will be closed overnight due to the high risk of fire. Nightly closures begin on Friday.
This morning, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources indefinitely closed all of its public lands east of the Cascades.
A press release from WDFW, copied in its entirety, is pasted below.
Condition of wildlife areas close to night use amid high fire risk
In response to the increased risk of fire and the depletion of firefighting resources nationwide, all wildlife areas in eastern Washington, including access areas to the Water in wildlife areas, managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will be open for daytime use only, starting Friday, July. 23.
The announcement follows the closure of recreational access to the Methow Wildlife Area in north central Washington announced this weekend due to proximity to the Cub Creek 2 fire. These closures include the Pearrygin Lake water access site and the Rendezvous, Early Winters and Methow units of the Methow wildlife reserve.
Previously, WDFW had closed several wildlife area units in Southeast Washington for public safety due to the Lick Creek (Dry Gulch) fire in Asotin County. Closed areas include the WT Wooten unit of the WT Wooten Wildlife Sanctuary, the Ranch 4-0 and Grouse Flats units of the Chief Joseph Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Asotin Creek and Weatherly units of the Asotin Creek Wildlife Sanctuary.
Night use and closures of the Methow and Southeast Washington Wildlife Areas will be in effect until further notice. State land managers will meet weekly to assess the possibility of further closures or reopenings. The current closures apply to both motorized and walking uses. Water access areas that are not part of a wildlife reserve will not be limited to daytime use only, unless otherwise specified.
Remember that an emergency decree issued in early July is still in force and being implemented on the lands of the department east of the Cascades, which prohibits:
Fires or campfires, including those in fire rings. Personal camping stoves and lanterns fueled by propane, liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas are permitted.
Smoking, except in a closed vehicle.
The unloading of firearms for target shooting or other purposes by anyone not engaged in legal hunting.
Welding and use of chainsaws, including the use of an acetylene torch or other open flame.
Drive a motor vehicle away from developed roads. Parking is permitted in designated parking areas, including developed campgrounds and trailheads; and in areas without vegetation that are within 10 feet of roads.
Members of the public engaged in these high risk activities will be fined because WDFW enforcement officers will apply a zero tolerance approach.
In addition to overnight closures and existing closures in North Central and Southeast Washington, smaller area specific road closures or other closures can also be implemented if necessary. The public is encouraged to visit wdfw.wa.gov/wildlifeareas for more details before traveling to their intended destination.
WDFW officials are also asking the public to comply with other land management closures, such as those announced by the Department of Natural Resources, and to follow additional voluntary safety advice, such as avoiding roads where vegetation is visible. on or near the road surface.