Wildfires affect 2020 hunting season

Nidia Torres

Nidia Torres, Reporter

With the fire and smoke from the Evans Canyon Fire receding into the Wenas and Oak Creek areas, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFAW) is trying to maintain the damaged areas and provide accommodations for hunters during hunting season. 

According to the Incident Information System, the Evans Canyon fire began on August 31 at approximately 2:29 p.m. Timber, brush, and tall grass fueled the spread of fire in the canyon. This shows that the hunting season started way before the fires did.

“The hunting seasons officially starts on August 1,” Wilkinson said.

According to Wilkinson, the fire caused animals wander away to safe areas away from the fire and the hunters followed. With many hunters in the same place, finding game becomes  more competitive. 

“The Evans Canyon fire burned approximately 75,000 acres,” Oates said. “Sixty-thousand of those were on the Wena Wildlife Area and another 2,000 acres were on the Oak Creek Wildlife Area.”

According to Oates, WDFAW  has major concerns about the survival of animals native to the affected areas.

“We are concerned for the survival of sage-steppe animals,” Oates said. “Including sage-steppe grouse, loggerhead shrikes, white-tailed jackrabbits, and pygmy short-horned lizards.”

WDFW understands the challenges of wildfires, especially during the hunting season. To remedy that, the WDFW has offered to extend the hunting season, and allow hunters to return their permits until October 10.

Experienced Bow hunter Tobias Staab said this wildfire was very dangerous because of all the destruction it caused. 

Both Staab and Wilkinson believe that with recent weather changes, affected areas will regrow overtime and provide a healthier landscapes for animals and hunters.