MOSES LAKE — After previously issuing a temporary ban on target shooting on 3 million acres of Department of Natural Resources-managed lands, the DNR is now banning campfires on all DNR-protected lands in eastern Washington.
The campfire ban, which began on Friday, applies to all DNR lands east of the Cascades. The DNR has responded to over 1,000 wildfires so far this fire season, almost 50 of which were the by-product of campfires.
The DNRs wildfire ban comes after the agency previously banned target shooting on DNR lands, which includes state forests, community forests and forested state lands. The DNR reports on average the agency responds to 22 wildfires a year that are caused by shooting. The ban is expected to be in effect through Sept. 30, but that date is based on fire conditions and could be extended or shortened. The Bureau of Land Management has followed suit and issued a similar ban.
“Washington is extremely hot and dry, with 96 percent of the state in drought-like conditions. Target shooting activities have already contributed to several fires on BLM lands this summer burning over 2,000 acres,” reads a release from the BLM.
The BLM ban applies to 20 counties in eastern Washington, including Grant and Adams counties. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued a ban on shooting on their lands as well, with the only permitted use of a firearm being for hunting.
July’s “Milemarker 81 Fire” was sparked by illegal shooting on Sun Lake-Dry Falls State Park Property near Lake Lenore, north of Soap Lake. The wildfire charred 850 acres and prompted several evacuation notices to sent out for people who were in the direct vicinity of the fire.
Richard Byrd can be reached via email at email@example.com.