FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2009
Fire forces closure of Ahtanum State Forest to public access
South Fork Ahtanum Rd and North Fork Ahtanum Rd from Tampico each limited to local traffic until further notice
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is closing the Ahtanum State Forest effective immediately. The area, located west of Yakima, will be closed at least through the weekend due to the Discovery Fire which originated on adjacent United States Forest Service land. The Ahtanum State Forest is popular with outdoor enthusiasts from throughout the state.
DNR is coordinating with the USFS, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office and Yakama Nation concerning the closure. To assist with the fire, DNR has dispatched a Type 2 Incident Command Team that should be in place by 3:00 p.m. this afternoon. Currently, the Discovery Fire is burning in the Klickitat Meadows area of the forest. Given the area’s poor forest health conditions, it has the potential to spread quickly. The poor forest health conditions are due to pests such as pine beetle.
With the fire weather forecast of extremely hot, dry and windy conditions throughout the weekend and beginning of next week, extreme fire behavior on this incident (Discovery Fire) is expected. All access roads into the Ahtanum State Forest will be blocked and staffed by law enforcement.
South Fork Ahtanum Rd and North Fork Ahtanum Rd from Tampico are closed and the Yakima County Sheriff’s Department is only allowing local traffic through.
Still photos of the Discovery Fire are posted on the DNR flickr page here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wastatednr/sets/72157621770445607/
Aaron Toso, Director of Communications & Outreach, 360-902-1023, firstname.lastname@example.org
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