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DNR announces controlled burns

by R. HANS MILLER
Managing Editor | March 25, 2024 5:00 PM

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Natural Resources announced eight prescribed burns throughout the state Monday. The eight separate burns will occur over the spring and cover up to 2,580 acres of state trust land.

“Prescribed fires are a critical, cost-effective component of restoring the health of our forests and protecting our communities from the worst outcomes during wildfire season,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “Our staff and I worked tirelessly to secure the funding and policy changes necessary to return prescribed fire to the landscape.”

Franz, a Democrat, is currently running for the U.S. House of Representatives 6th Congressional District seat.

Prescribed burns are commonly used to reduce fuels, improve the health of older trees by reducing competition for resources, support wildlife habitats and create a safer landscape for wildland firefighters to engage with wildfires, the announcement said. Prescribed fires are often used by land management agencies, nonprofits, contractors and private landowners to achieve forest health goals and protect resources from catastrophic wildfires. DNR uses both broadcast burns and pile burns. Pile burns are the planned burning of woody slash and debris, while broadcast burns are planned fires applied to an area with the objectives outlined in a burn plan. 

These burns are part of the state’s 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan which can be found at https://bit.ly/20YRPLNWA.

Smoke from the prescribed burns is expected to be minimal, the announcement said. However, those sensitive to smoke are encouraged to take precautions to limit exposure. 

Burns planned across the state include: 

• Meloy Cooperative — 938 DNR-managed acres and 55 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife acres northwest of Yakima

• Plumback — 196 acres northwest of Ellensburg

• Black Diamond — Aeneas Valley, 20 acres southeast of Tonasket

• Black Diamond — Havilah, 400 acres northeast of Tonasket

• Sinlahekin — 65 DNR-managed acres, 19 WDFW acres and six Bureau of Land Management acres south of Loomis

• Rosy Owl Clover — 120 acres northeast of Glenwood

• Airport — 450 acres northeast of Glenwood

• South Park — 390 acres southwest of Glenwood

Franz said she is hoping to work to continue to address wildfire management in a proactive manner with prescribed burns and other management strategies. 

“I am excited to continue working with our partners across Washington to expand the use of prescribed fire and address our forest health crisis,” she said.