Washington DNR closes down eastern managed land

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has closed down the land they manage east of the Cascade Mountain Range.

“It’s just, bone dry,” Vaughn Cork, a Fuel Analyst for Washington DNR said.

He described the conditions throughout Eastern Washington, citing continuous high temperatures without any rain, which has lead to an extremely high fire risk.

According to InciWeb, all wildfires burning in Washington are in the eastern part of the state, which is why the DNR chose to close down their managed land.

“Including our recreation areas, our trust lands, our natural areas and community forest,” Recreation Manager Leah Dobey said.

While this could put a damper on hundreds of Washingtonians’ outdoor summer plans, both officials said Washington can’t afford another wildfire.

“It’s frustrating, we all wanna get out and be outdoors in the summer, and to have plans cancelled
especially after the year we’ve had. It’s a time when we really need to pull together as a community and say ‘you know, I’m gonna sacrifice a little of my experience, for the greater good of the people around me and my community to make it through this season without any tragedies,'” Dobey said.

Cork added there’s ten fires burning on DNR-managed land in the state right now, and resources are tapped out.

“There’s almost nothing left, pretty much raided the cupboards, there’s really no firefighters left available nationally,” he added Oregon, California, Idaho and Montana are experiencing similar situations.

This is why they’re asking you to stay off of Eastern Washington DNR Land until further notice. If you decide to recreate elsewhere, they ask that you do so responsibly.

“It’s not just a campfire spark that can start a wildfire, it’s something as simple as maybe a chain dragging as you’re towing your boat or parking on dry grass,” Dobey said.

To learn if your favorite recreation spot is owned by the Department of Natural Resources, visit their website.