The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By Drew Lawson
Staff Reporter Free Press Publishing 

DNR shutters east-side recreation land due to fires


Last updated 9/9/2020 at 4:23pm

OLYMPIA—The Department of Natural Resources closed all recreational land it manages in Eastern Washington effective immediately in response to widespread fires Tuesday, the department said in a press release.

The closure will remain in place through Friday, Sept. 11 “at least,” the press release said. “DNR staff will evaluate the possibility of extending it as the week progresses,” it continued.

Affected forest and trust lands managed by the DNR include Ahtanum, Little Pend Orielle, Loomis, Loup Loup, Naneum Ridge, Teanaway and Klickitat Canyon forests.

The DNR also manages Dishman Hills in Spokane County.

Labor Day saw a rash of wildfires and violent wind gusts sweep the state. 58 new fires started that day statewide, including several fires in Spokane, Lincoln and Whitman counties that threatened structures and forced recommended evacuations across Eastern Washington.

“Whenever we close recreation lands to the public, our only motivation is safety,” Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said in the press release. “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.”

The DNR had already closed recreational areas in Yakima County due to the Evans County fire, which had blazed through 70,000 acres as of press time. It also shut down timber-harvest activities on DNR-managed lands through at least the morning of Sept. 10, the press release stated.


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