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home : cops, courts, crime & fire : sheriff's report May 24, 2016

11/9/2012 8:35:00 AM
Fall prescribed burn plan begins
From Susan Peterson
National Forest Service PIO

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest fire specialists are ready to begin the fall prescribed fire program on the Wenatchee River Ranger District.

This year's fall prescribed fire program will focus on brush piles comprised of timber slash and excess forest fuels with underburning not to occur until 2013. The fall program will continue as long as conditions allow.

The objectives of these treatments are to improve protection to local communities and enhance forest health and wildlife habitat by maintaining and restoring vegetation and fuel conditions.

This is very important in the management of wildfires because the size, severity and effects of wildfire may be better managed in areas that are treated.

Some of the areas that were recently burned by the wildfires in the Wenatchee Valley provide excellent examples of how prescribed fire can limit the effects of wildfire by maintaining a resilient timber stand structure, decreasing impacts to soil and associated runoff (erosion), and aiding firefighting resources in building effective containment lines.

All Okanogan-Wenatchee N.F. prescribed burns are weather-dependent and fire specialists will cease burning or not implement ignition operations if objectives cannot be met, or weather conditions are unfavorable.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources regulates smoke management and approves all prescribed burns on national forests within the state. The Forest Service fire managers closely coordinate with the state's air quality managers, seeking optimum conditions for prescribed fire and fuel reduction programs.

Prescribed fires are part of the comprehensive Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Restoration Strategy. Forest Service managers began implementing the strategy in 1999 to reduce the threat of uncharacteristically severe wildfires and to return resiliency to unhealthy forest ecosystems.

Questions about the fall prescribed burning program for the Wenatchee River Ranger District may be directed to Cary Stock, Assistant Fire Management Officer 509-548-2565.

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