Prescribed burning to begin in Wenatchee National Forest

OKANOGAN-WENATCHEE NATIONAL FOREST NEWS RELEASE -- Spring prescribed burn activities planned for the Cle Elum Ranger District could begin in late April or early May, 2014, weather permitting.

Fire managers plan to treat approximately 500 acres using low intensity fire to reduce dead and down fuels to help the forest better withstand future wildfires, improve protection of adjacent lands located within the wildland urban interface area, and enhance forest health and forage conditions for wildlife. The treatment areas are located near the town of Liberty and the North Fork Teanaway River. Smoke will likely be visible from Highway 97, Highway 970, Interstate 90, Teanaway Road and the Kittitas Valley.

"As with any prescribed fire, a number of criteria must be met before burning can occur. Expected fire behavior, weather data, ground fuel conditions, smoke analysis, and risk assessment must be considered. There is a contingency plan, with staffing in place, should conditions change unexpectedly and require containment actions" Kimiko Nalle, Fuels Technician for the Cle Elum Ranger District said.

The Forest Service will continue to work with regulatory partners to monitor weather and seasonal factors that affect smoke production from prescribed burning. Fire managers understand the concerns that accompany smoke emissions created by prescribed burns and seek to minimize the impacts of smoke, while balancing the need to accomplish burning intended to reduce the intensity of future wildland fire.

Prescribed burns may impact travel on forest roads. Warning signs will be placed in the vicinity of active project areas to alert the public of the prescribed burn activity.

For more information, please call the Cle Elum Ranger Station (509) 852-1100.