Fight fire with fire, as the saying goes. And this spring, that’s the plan on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Marcus Bellissimo reports on planned burns across Central Washington.
This spring, firefighters across Central Washington will conduct prescribed burns on National Forest lands to restore forest health and fire resiliency. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Fire Management Officer Rob Allen said they’ve identified some 10,000 acres from Naches to Tonasket.
In Chelan County, that include 500 acres on Grouse Mountain and 500 south of Peshastin, 124 up Bear Mountain, 550 along Fishpole and Natapoc above Fish Lake and nearly 2,000 acres in the forests above Lake Chelan.
Allen said as wildfires were advancing towards the communities of Ardenvoir and Winthrop last fall, decades of proactive thinning and prescribed fire robbed those fires of fuel and allowed firefighters a safer place to make a stand. Allen said all planned burns are weather dependent – conditions like temperature, wind, fuel moisture and ventilation for smoke. When these criteria are met, firefighters implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets forest health and public safety goals including air quality.