Local News

WDFW plans controlled burns on wildlife areas in Eastern Washington


Sep 18, 2018

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will be conducting controlled burns on department lands in Okanogan, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Kittitas, and Yakima counties to reduce wildfire risks and enhance wildlife habitat.

As conditions allow, controlled burns are planned to start later this month or early October on the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area in Okanogan County, Methow Wildlife Area in Okanogan County, Sherman Creek Wildlife Area in Ferry County, Rustlers Gulch Wildlife Area in Pend Oreille County, L.T. Murray Wildlife Area in Kittitas County, and Oak Creek Wildlife Area in Yakima County.

The burn areas range from grasslands to Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir stands that have been thinned and currently contain logging debris and slash. WDFW may conduct other burns on department lands throughout Eastern Washington later this fall as well.

WDFW Prescribed Fire Manager, Matt Eberlein, said controlled burns are monitored constantly until they are out, and signs are posted to alert recreationists about them.

“We work to minimize smoke impacts,” said Eberlein, noting that smoke could nonetheless make its way down the valleys into town areas, or temporarily reduce visibility on roadways at night or early morning. “Motorists should use caution and watch for personnel, fire equipment, and smoke on roads in the vicinity of the burns,” Eberlein said. “Recent wildfires demonstrate the importance of conducting controlled burns.”

“By burning off accumulations of natural vegetation and logging debris, we can reduce the risk of high-intensity wildfires that can destroy wildlife habitat,” he said. “It’s not a question of whether we’ll have fires on these lands in the future, but rather the degree to which we can reduce the damage they cause.”

Eberlein said WDFW is coordinating with other agencies in the area to provide assistance with the burns and is using private contractors and equipment from the local communities.

Maps showing the vicinity of the proposed burns are available at:

                                                          


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