All DNR lands in Central, Eastern Washington to close over fire danger

Red Apple Fire
Hilary Franz

WENATCHEE, Wash. — All Department of Natural Resources-managed lands east of the Cascades will be temporarily closed due to extreme fire danger in Eastern Washington.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz made the announcement while visiting the site of the Red Apple Fire in Wenatchee.

This closure affects all DNR-managed state lands, conservation areas, community forests, roads, trails, campgrounds, recreational sites or recreational facilities.

The closure goes into effect Friday, July 23. There is no scheduled date for the lands to reopen.

“This summer is smashing all our records and leaving the state bone dry, leaving eastern Washington to face an ongoing, tremendous risk of wildfire,” said Franz. “Over the past year and a half, we have been reminded just how important our public lands are, so closing them is not a decision we take lightly. But with the drought leaving the region as dry as ever we must do all that we can to prevent human-caused fires.”

Just this summer, more than 900 wildfires have cropped up across the state, burning nearly 220 square miles. The Red Apple Fire has burned more than 18 square miles.

“Our firefighters are already stretched thin fighting major fires across our state,” said Franz. “We must take reasonable steps – and make sacrifices – in order to protect them and our communities.”

Closing DNR lands is a preventative measure to keep people out of areas in danger of catching fire. This is in addition to the burn ban on DNR lands, which runs through September 30.

“Restricting recreational access is something we only do in the most serious of circumstances,” said deputy supervisor Angus Brodie. “However, safety is always our top priority and right now it’s not safe for people to be out on the landscape. We look forward to reopening as soon as the danger recedes.”

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