DNR plans prescribed burns on up to 2,580 acres of state Trust Lands

The agency continues ramping up prescribed fire operations after the program was relaunched in 2022.

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources released a list on Monday of eight prescribed burns the agency intends to execute this spring on state trust lands in central and eastern Washington.

Among them are prescribed burns in the Loomis, Havillah and Aeneas Valley areas. These include:

• 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

Prescribed fire operations may begin as soon as next week and run through spring into early summer. Each prescribed burn is subject to a list of requirements for safe and effective implementation, including weather and available resources. Some burns may be postponed to future seasons if optimal conditions are not met this spring.

Successful prescribed fires reduce hazardous fuels, improve the health of older trees by reducing competition for finite resources, support wildlife habitats, and create a safer landscape for wildland firefighters to engage with wildfires.

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

Prescribed fires are commonly used by land management agencies, nonprofits, for-profit contractors, and private landowners to achieve forest health objectives and to help protect critical resources from catastrophic wildfires.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) uses both broadcast burns and pile burns. Broadcast burns are planned fire applied to an area with objectives that are outlined in a burn plan. Pile burns are the planned burning of woody slash and debris to achieve forest health objectives detailed in the 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan.

Localized smoke impacts from prescribed fire are often minimal. Those who are sensitive to wildfire smoke are encouraged to take similar precautions if a prescribed burn is happening nearby. Members of the public are encouraged to keep track of upcoming prescribed burns using at least one of the following resources:

• DNR website, https://www.dnr.wa.gov/prescribedfire/.

• Twitter, https://twitter.com/waDNR_Forests

Other burns planned for this spring include 450 acres northwest of Glenwood, 120 acres northeast of Glenwood and 390 acres southwest of Glenwood; 938 DNR-managed acres and 55 acres managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) northwest of Yakima and 196 acres northwest of Ellensburg.

Acres listed represent the entire burn plan; individual units within a burn plan may be burned at different times due to resource availability or ground conditions.