The 2020 fire season started with a vengeance, with over 330,000 acres of land burning in a single day. Public lands commissioner Hilary Franz called it a, “historic fire event,” with “58 new wildfire starts and nine large fires on the landscape, compounded by hurricane-level winds.” Many of these fires are still burning throughout the state and the fire danger remains high especially in Eastern Washington.
As a result of the fires, our area has seen the following closures:
*The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has closed all of the public lands that they manage East of the Cascade Mountains through September 17th, though that closure could be extended if weather conditions do not improve. *DNR reopened their lands on September 18, 2020 visit dnr.wa.gov for current information.
*Hancock Natural Resource Group, a partner with our disabled access program, has closed their lands to all recreation at this time (you can find updates Hancock here). This includes the Huckleberry and Blanchard hump disabled access areas. We will continue to update our disabled access program participants as we receive more information. *Access to Hancock property will reopen on October 6, 2020.
*At the commission meeting on Friday, September 11th, it was announced that WDFW would be employing an education campaign instead of closing WDFW lands as hunting seasons are opening. Below is their informational sheet (more in-depth WDFW fire updates can be found here)
Before you go outdoors
*Check the conditions in the area that you will be visiting. The greater Spokane area is circled by fires at varying levels of containment, please make sure an area is safe before heading out.
*Be aware of the air quality. As of Saturday, September 12th the air quality in Spokane was listed at hazardous and considered unsafe for for the entire population.
*Pack smart for the back country – Officials are advising a cold camp so skip the Mountain Home and coffee over a propane stove and instead pack food/beverage options that do not need to be heated.
Stay safe and recreate with caution during this time!