OLYMPIA, Wash. -The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will add a temporary statewide restriction on firearm use beginning Saturday, Aug. 4, to fire-prevention rules already in place on WDFW-managed lands.
“Weeks of dry weather have raised the threat of wildfire on both sides of the Cascades, and it’s critical for all of us to avoid doing anything that could damage or destroy fish and wildlife habitat,” said Cynthia Wilkerson, manager of the department’s Lands Division.
The department’s action follows Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation earlier this week of a state of emergency for wildfire threats across the state and is consistent with shooting restrictions imposed by other state and federal land management agencies.
Under WDFW’s temporary rule, target shooting and other gun use will be prohibited, but discharge of a firearm for legal hunting will still be permitted.
In eastern Washington
The shooting ban will be added to a more comprehensive set of emergency restrictions already in place at WDFW-managed properties. The following activities are prohibited:
Fires or campfires, including those in fire rings. Personal camp stoves and lanterns fueled by propane, liquid petroleum, or liquid petroleum gas are allowed.
Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle.
The discharge of firearms for target-shooting or other purposes by anyone not engaged in lawful hunting.
Welding and operating chainsaws. Operating a torch with an open flame and all equipment powered by an internal combustion engine is prohibited.
Operating a motor vehicle away from developed roads. Parking is permitted within designated parking areas, including developed campgrounds and trailheads; and in areas without vegetation that are within 10 feet of roadways.
In western Washington
The WDFW shooting ban will be in effect until further notice at department-managed wildlife areas, boat launches, and other water access sites.
All temporary restrictions will remain in effect until the risk of wildfire decreases, Wilkerson said. She noted that state law already prohibits the discharge of fireworks and the disposal of a lit cigarette or other burning material from a vehicle on a state highway.
More information about fires and fire prevention is available online from the Washington Department of Natural Resources (http://www.dnr.wa.gov) and the U.S. Forest Service (http://www.fs.usda.gov).