SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Department of Natural Resources lands east of the Cascades will reopen to public access on Thursday.

The department closed those lands on July 23 because of extreme heat, drought and risk of wildfires.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said in a news release that conditions have improved dramatically thanks to the tireless efforts of firefighters, an expanded air fleet, and a focus on attacking fires quickly to limit spread.

Firefighters have worked on approximately 1,750 fires, she said.

A statewide burn ban remains in effect and is set to expire on Sept. 30.

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