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With fires ‘smashing records,’ state closes DNR lands in Eastern Washington

Damage done by the Red Apple Fire near Wenatchee, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Hilary Franz/Twitter)

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is temporarily closing all recreational and public access to DNR-managed lands in Eastern Washington starting Friday.

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The temporary closure will apply to DNR-managed state lands, conservation areas, community forests, and any associated roads, trails, campgrounds, and recreational sites or recreational facilities.

“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 Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who oversees the DNR. “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.”

The decision to close DNR lands was based on current hot and dry conditions, a forecast that shows no meaningful precipitation in the near future, current fuel loads, and a concern for public safety.

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A reopening date is not set at this time. This closure is in addition to a burn ban set by Franz earlier in July, which is set to remain in effect until at least Sept. 30.

Find a map of DNR’s regions here. For updates on recreation openings and closures, visit this site.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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