Some Fire Restrictions Eased In Eastern WA, But Not All
UPDATED 2:15 P.M., OCTOBER 13, 2022
Fire restrictions are being eased but not entirely removed on federal and state lands in Eastern Washington ahead of the start of rifle deer season this weekend.
The Bureau of Land Management this morning announced that it has lifted campfire and target shooting restrictions on its lands and those of the Bureau of Reclamation in all counties east of the Cascades, and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is again allowing target shooting, as well as campfires at designated campgrounds – but not dispersed sites that hunters often set their deer camps up at.
“Many parts of our forest are still in high fire danger conditions. There is no rain forecast in the coming week and with the current forecast we are anticipating fire danger will actually be going up in some areas, at lower elevations. Although the days are cooler and shorter, fuel moistures are still very low due to lack of rain over the past several months,” states Victoria Wilkins, a spokeswoman for the sprawling national forest that stretches across some of the Eastside’s best mule deer hunting units.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife lifted restrictions on target shooting on its lands east of the Cascades as of October 7, and this afternoon agency managers announced that campfires were again being allowed at most though not all WDFW lands as of tomorrow, October 14.
However, campfire restrictions won’t be lifted in Benton, Franklin, Kittitas and Yakima Counties until Sunday, October 16, and November 1 at the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Adams and Grant Counties and Klickitat County’s Klickitat Wildlife Area “due to their drier, more sensitive nature.”
Campfire restrictions were previously eased in Northeast Washington’s Colville National Forest and Southeast Washington’s Umatilla National Forest, but only partially so on the Oka-Wen NF.
“We know that for many a campfire is an important part of camping, especially during fall hunting trips,” adds Wilkins. “There are propane and gas alternative campfires available and these are still allowed during fire restrictions. A campfire alternative may be a great investment if you spend a lot of time recreating in fire prone areas such as Central Washington.”