The Kenny and Patti Barber Shooting Range in the Butte is closed due to wildfire concerns.

Department of Natural Resource Commissioner Corri Feige made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday.

“We have closed that shooting range for the immediate future because of dry fuel in the area,” Feige explained. “There’s so much in the way of leaves and dry grass that it does present a fire hazard.”

The range was shut down for three months earlier this year while construction crews improved access on the Maud Road extension.

It reopened to the public on Aug. 1.

Knik River Public Use Area land manager Travis Jensen said it was important to get the range open for hunting season.

About 20,000 people used the shooting area last year.

Feige has asked hunters to be especially careful when they’re out. Campfires are prohibited but heating devices with off switches — like gas stoves — are allowed.

The state could close the Willow marsh near the Deshka Fire to hunting if it believes the fire could put lives at risk.

“We certainly do not take those kinds of actions lightly at all. We appreciate that this is hunting season, and we’re all out trying to fill our freezers. So we’re going to take responsible action, but first and foremost we’re going to keep people safe,” Feige said.

The Mat-Su Borough and Kenai Peninsula Borough have issued burn closures that include campfires in established fire pits or rings in designated campgrounds.

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