It's the peak of summer but both residents and tourists in Eastern Washington won't be able to enjoy several outside areas for some time.
Starting Friday, July 23 at midnight, all Eastern Washington lands under the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be closed to the public, according to Hillary Franz, the Washington Commissioner of Public Lands. KOMO reports that officials shut down access due to the ongoing drought and extreme fire danger.
The closure will apply to all DNR-managed lands, conservation areas, community forests, any associated roads, trails, campgrounds, recreational sites, and recreational facilities.
"This decision was not one we made lightly. But with the drought leaving the region as dry as ever, we must do all that we can to prevent human-caused fires," Franz said. "My staff will continue to monitor conditions and will determine a reopening date once those factors improve."
Wildfires have been popping up across the Pacific Northwest recently, consuming hundreds of thousands of acres and threatening homes, businesses, and important services. A record-breaking heat dome weeks ago caused temperatures to skyrocket as well, raising the chances of more blazes breaking out.
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