By Ann McCreary
U.S. Forest Service crews plan to use prescribed/controlled fire on 2,400 acres in the Methow Valley Ranger District this spring.
“Prescribed fire and thinning activities could start as early as mid-April, depending upon local weather conditions, and extend through mid-June,” said Wesley Page, forestry technician.
“We hope to achieve a variety of objectives with these prescribed burns,” Page said. “The major goal is to reduce the amount of burnable fuels on the ground and minimize ladder fuels that could carry fire from the ground into the treetops. By removing these fuels, not only does it decrease wildfire intensity and the likelihood of crown fire activity, but it also helps protect adjoining communities and increases the resilience of these forests to future wildfires.”
District crews plan to use prescribed fire in seven units of various sizes east and northwest of Mazama, northwest of Winthrop, and southeast of Twisp.
• 839 acres in the Goat Units located 2 miles east of Mazama.
• 419 acres in the Lost Driveway Units adjacent to Mazama and 7 miles northwest of Mazama.
• 66 acres in the Benzer Units located 11 miles southeast of Twisp, to reduce fuels generated from harvest activities and prepare the site for future tree regeneration.
• 56 acres in the Lucky Unit, 6 miles northwest of Winthrop.
• 1,030 acres in the Eightmile drainage 10 miles northwest of Winthrop, including 365 acres in the Sherwood unit, 363 acres in the Deer Unit, and 302 acres in the Ortell Unit.
The Methow Ranger District announced this week that it planned to burn about 50 acres near the Yellowjacket Sno-Park. Ignitions were anticipated to begin around 10 a.m. on Wednesday (April 14).
Just over 9,500 acres of prescribed burning is planned this spring on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Burn projects are weather-dependent and fire specialists will cease burning as soon as possible if objectives are not being met or weather conditions are unfavorable. Primary concerns include favorable winds that can minimize smoke impacts to public health and the risk of fire escape.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources regulates smoke management and must approve all controlled burns on national forests within the state. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest fire specialists closely coordinate with the state’s air quality managers, after they receive burn approval.
Daily updates are recorded and available at (509) 966-4040. Individuals may also be added to an email list to receive updates. Contact Wesley Page (Wesley.firstname.lastname@example.org) to be added to the list.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife also plans subscribed burns on WDFW lands in eastern Washington beginning this month, as conditions allow.
WDFW will conduct burns on 2,700 acres of managed lands, including 248 acres in the Methow Wildlife Area, 10 miles northeast of Winthrop.
DNR: check burn piles
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is warning residents to make sure their campfires and burn piles are fully extinguished before abandoning them. DNR has already responded to over 50 fires caused by escaped debris burns experienced many outdoor debris burn piles that have escaped into a fire, the agency said in a press release.
The best way to be certain a burn pile fully extinguished is to dig into the ash and feel the area with the back of your hand to make sure there is no heat left, DNR said. It is common for rain to create a cap over the ash, with heat remaining inside. Winds can weaken the cap and allow the pile to reignite. Campfires should be doused with water and stirred until all coals are completely extinguished and is cool to the touch.