OLYMPIA — Washington Department of Natural Resources lands east of the Cascades will reopen to the public on Thursday, according to a news release.

The lands were closed July 23 because of extreme fire danger and ongoing drought.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz plans to announce the reopening during a news conference Wednesday in Seattle. She also will provide an update on this year's fire season.

The news release said conditions have improved since the lands were first closed, with improved weather signaling the end of peak wildfire danger. There were no significant fire starts over Labor Day weekend, the DNR said.

More than 650,000 acres have burned in Washington this wildfire season, the DNR said. There have been about 1,750 fires.

A statewide burn ban remains in effect until Sept. 30.

Most wildlife areas managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will also reopen to overnight use on Thursday. A burn ban on WDFW lands remains in effect.

___ (c)2021 Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.) Visit Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.) at www.yakima-herald.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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