Wildfires to impact fall hunting season this year

Wenatchee— With a variety of hunting season beginning on Sept. 1, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest officials are encouraging hunters to know and comply with current campfire restrictions and area closures in place across the National Forest. While thousands of roads and trails remain open, others have been closed for public safety.
“Hunting is a very important use of the Forest. As folks get out into the woods, it’s imperative to know what areas are closed due to wildfires and have campfire bans,” said Forest Deputy Fire Staff Officer Matt Castle. “Safety is important to all of us.”
Due to wildfire activity in many areas of the Forest, public access to some roads, trails, and general forest recreation areas is restricted. Before heading out, hunters should check on forest closures, campfire bans, and current wildfire status at www.fs.usda.gov/okawen or from local national forest offices. A map showing closure areas for the Forest can be found at http://arcg.is/2vpoLOz. Information about large wildfires burning in Washington is available on Inciweb at inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/49/# .
“Our number one priority is human safety and we want to avoid accidents and injuries as much as possible. Stump holes, unstable soils, flooding potential, washed out roads, and falling trees and branches are all things that forest users need to be aware of,” Castle said. “Any time you enter the forest, you should be aware of your environment and changing weather conditions. The environment in and adjacent to recently burned areas is highly susceptible to rainstorms and wind events.”
In addition to fire closures, campfire bans are in effect Forest-wide. Forest visitors are prohibited from maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire along with the use of charcoal briquette barbecues, Tiki torches and other devices that use solid fuel. Recreationists can use pressurized liquid gas stoves as an alternative; go to http://bit.ly/2xvnIdA for a list of approved and non-approved campfire options. Most of the forest remains in an Industrial Fire Precautionary Level III in which all firewood cutting is prohibited. Contact local national forest offices for woodcutting information.

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