A project to reduce the risk of wildfires on the Methow Valley School District campus was recently completed thanks to the active involvement of several local and state organizations.
The project was coordinated by Fire Adapted Methow Valley (FAMV), a local nonprofit that is part of the Methow Valley Long Term Recovery organization, with the assistance of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the school district, Americorps and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. The school campus project is one of several that FAMV has initiated over the past three years.
“Our project on the Methow Valley School District campus was designed to protect the health of hundreds of ponderosa pines scattered across the northern and western portions of the campus while reducing risk of destructive wildfire on the campus and neighboring homes,” FAMV Director Nancy Farr said.
The project had been started in 2019 when about 17 acres of forest on the northern portion of the campus were treated by removing dead and low branches on the ponderosa trees as well as some shrubs and small trees that could serve as ladder fuels to carry ground fire up into trees’ crowns.
“We had been waiting for resources in order to finish the remaining parts of the campus (approximately 60 acres),” Farr said.
A treatment approach for the school campus was developed by DNR’s Okanogan-based Landowner Assistance Forester Jake Hardt, and approved by the school district. The crews at the school campus included 12 young members of Americorps WA Conservation Corp (based in Wenatchee and Ellensburg), four DNR Forest Health Specialists (based throughout Okanogan County), and equipment supplied by DNR.
Farr said that the completion of a new mountain bike trail system on the school campus complicated the project, but the Mountain Bike Alliance assisted in closing parts of the trail while crews completed their work.