FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2009
Update on fires burning on DNR-protected lands
Discovery Fire west of Yakima causes DNR to close Ahtanum State Forest through the weekend
OLYMPIA – Crews from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are among the several agencies responding to a growing wildfire on remote, rugged forestland west of Yakima. The blaze was apparently started by a lightning strike Wednesday (July 29) on U.S. Forest Service land next to the DNR-managed Ahtanum State Forest.
Because of the potential for this blaze to spread rapidly through volatile stands of timber damaged by insects, DNR has closed the Ahtanum State Forest to the public. The closure of the area, which is popular with outdoor recreationists, is expected to last through the weekend. As a precaution, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Department closed roads this afternoon leading into the area from the town of Tampico.
As of 4:30 p.m., wildfires of note on lands that DNR protects, or on which it provides cooperative assistance, included:
- Discovery Fire, Yakima County, 150 acres and growing (0% contained). See photos on DNR’s Flickr page
- Union Valley, Chelan County, 600 acres (containment not complete). See map on DNR’s blog, Ear to the Ground
DNR fire officials warn that the entire state continues to see dangerous fire conditions due to heat and dry conditions, with fire dangers especially high west of the Cascade Mountain Range.
Many Washington counties have fire hazard levels rated as “high” to “extreme” this weekend due to dry weather and low moisture levels in grasses, trees, and other vegetation. Check local conditions and restrictions by calling 1-800-323-BURN (2876) or go to: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger
DNR’s wildfire mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 12.7 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands in Washington. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department. During fire season, this includes more than 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 375 seasonal workers. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.
Bob Redling, Senior Communications Manager, 360-902-1149, email@example.com
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