Department of Natural Resource lands will be closed to the public from Friday until further notice due to the growing danger of wildfires.
Washington State Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz announced the closure Tuesday from a Red Apple Fire evacuation area, near Wenatchee. That fire has burned more than 12,000 acres.
“We made this decision based on a number of important factors, including current extreme hot, dry conditions, a forecast that shows no meaningful precipitation on the horizon, the current state of our fuel load and most importantly, concern for our public safety.”
The public land closure goes into effect at 12:01 am on Friday.
All Department of Natural Resource controlled land in Eastern Washington is closed to the public.
In northeastern Washington, that includes DNR’s Dishman Hills Conservation Area near Spokane and the Little Pend Oreille forest in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties.
Franz says she acted because most of eastern Washington is in a drought emergency. She says the number of fires ignited so far this spring and summer is approximately double the state’s 10-year average with at least two months of fire season left to go.
The agency has already imposed a burn ban on the lands under its control. That is due to remain in effect until at least the end of September.