DNR planning prescribed burn on 20 acres in Okanogan County

A prescribed fire operation to reduce wildfire risk and restore forest health near Tonasket may begin as soon as Monday, April 15.

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Forest Service are planning a prescribed fire operation this fall on up to 20 acres of land located about 20 miles southeast of Tonasket. Click here to view the location on a map.

Staff are preparing to begin operations as soon as Monday, April 15. DNR is committed to conducting all prescribed fires as safely and effectively as possible, which may require postponing a burn on short notice. Members of the public can stay up to date on DNR prescribed fire information by visiting dnr.wa.gov/prescribedfire, following @wadnr_forests on Twitter, and by signing up for email alerts about upcoming burns.

Prescribed fires are a common tool used by land managers and conservation groups to reduce the amount of fuel available for wildfires, improve the health of older trees, support new and current wildlife habitats, and recycle soil nutrients back into the ground.

Successful completion of a prescribed fire operation enhances public safety by providing wildland firefighters a safer landscape on which to fight a wildfire. It can also lessen the amount of smoke caused by wildfires by reducing available fuels.

A recent study completed by DNR scientists found that forest health treatments that included prescribed fire were more likely to be effective when affected by a wildfire than treatments that did not include prescribed fire.

Smoke Management and Closure Information

The smoke impacts from prescribed fire are minimal and short-lived compared to those caused by wildfire. Burn crews carefully monitor conditions to limit the effects of smoke on nearby residents.

Persons and businesses with increased sensitivity to smoke should be prepared to follow the same precautions they would for wildfire smoke. These include limiting physical activity outdoors, closing the fresh-air intake on air circulation systems, and creating a box fan filter. Additional information is available at the Washington State Department of Health website.

Drivers on Aeneas Valley Road can expect reduced visibility when near the prescribed fire. It is possible that smoke and other factors will require short-term delays on Aeneas Valley Road during active operations.

Outdoor recreationists and hunters are encouraged to check closure information frequently to ensure the areas they plan to visit are open. All burn areas will have signs posted in advance.