OLYMPIA — All lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) east of the Cascades will remain closed due to high fire danger through next Thursday, the agency announced Friday afternoon.

After a score of fires ignited around Eastern Washington over Labor Day weekend, DNR enacted a closure on Tuesday and instructed staff to evaluate how the week progressed.

With the Cold Springs and Pearl Hill fire still raging, and a critical wildfire danger ongoing, an extension of the closure was warranted.

“Closing recreation to the public is a difficult decision, and one we do not take lightly, but the risk to public safety and our firefighters is too great to take chances with,” said Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands. “Hundreds of thousands of acres of land have burned since Monday, and our resources are fully deployed. But we cannot risk having more human-caused fires right now.”

“I know how important hunting season is to so many Washingtonians, but we are in the middle of a historic wildfire event.”

DNR will announce the reopening of its public lands when it again becomes safe to do so.