Anticipate some drifting smoke as early as mid-October
information released by Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. US Forest Service photo above: A Forest Service employee involved in burning piles of forest debris created from forest thinning operations.
Forest Service crews plan to use controlled “good fire” to burn piles of forest debris across 1,621 acres in the Methow Valley Ranger District this fall.
“Prescribed fire could start as early as mid-October, depending upon local weather conditions, and extend through the end of the year,” Forestry Technician Wesley Page said. “The burn piles are made up of debris crated from a combination of forest thinning and suppression operations from local wildfires.”
District crews plan to use prescribed fire in units of various sizes near Mazama, north of Winthrop, and east and southeast of Twisp. Units that will be burned include:
• 974 acres in the French Corner units located about 10 miles southeast of Twisp
• 392 acres in the Loupy units located about 10 miles east of Twisp
• 200 acres in the Lost Driveway units and near the Cedar Creek Fire around Mazama
• 40 acres in the Cub Creek and Chewuch River drainage near the Cub Creek 2 Fire about 10 miles north of Winthrop
• 15 acres of scattered piles located on the southern end of the district
“Despite the fires we experienced during the summer of 2021, we still have ongoing efforts to restore and improve the resiliency of the forests in and around the Methow Valley. Additionally, the fire suppression operations this summer generated additional woody material we need to eliminate. Removal of this material is necessary to meet our objectives and be good stewards and neighbors,” Page said.
“Prescribed fire is currently the most efficient and effective tool we have in this area to remove excess woody debris from forested landscapes. We work in conjunction with the State of Washington to utilize prescribed fire during conditions that minimize smoke impacts to surrounding communities. Burning during these conditions ensures that smoke impacts are of short duration and intensity,” Page added.
An interactive map of the proposed burn areas may be viewed at www.tinyurl.com/harqnw8, and daily updates are recorded and available at 509-966-4040.
All 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.
Please contact Matt Ellis, at David.Ellis@usda.gov, regarding questions about prescribed burning conducted by the Forest Service in the Methow Valley this fall.