DNR closing down Eastern WA lands due to widespread wildfires

Washington DNR
Washington DNR

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington State Department of Natural Resources is closing down all Eastern Washington lands due to the widespread wildfires sweeping through the Inland Northwest.

Currently, the closures will last through Friday with the possibility of continuing through next week.

“We had a historic fire event yesterday—58 new wildfire starts and nine large fires on the landscape, compounded by hurricane-level winds,” said Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz. “That dangerous combination led to smoke-filled skies and low visibility, which grounded our aircraft and limited our ability to fight the fire from the air.”

DNR says that wildfire risk remains high, with hot, dry, powerful winds still moving through the region all week. The fires started by these winds are often unpredictable and hard to battle from the air.

“The destruction we have seen is unimaginable. My heart breaks for the residents of Malden who have seen their homes destroyed.”

RELATED: ‘The entire town is gone’; Malden devastated by wildfires, most homes destroyed

With no lightning in the forecast across Eastern washington, DNR suggests that most of the wildfires were human-caused.

“Whenever we close recreation lands to the public, our only motivation is safety,” said Franz. “With more than 300,000 acres burning since Monday, this remains a very volatile and dangerous situation. Because of the scale of these fires, our state’s resources are fully deployed. We are holding nothing back. But that means we must take every possible precaution to prevent new fires from being started. That’s why we’ve taken action.”

DNR is also shutting down timber operations on their lands.