THE PROBLEM
 

Unhealthy
Forests,
Unfightable
Fires

 

© John Marshall

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Eastern Washington’s dry forests have evolved with and depend on regular, low-intensity fire to thrive.

To protect communities and timber resources, we have been aggressively suppressing wildfire for over 100 years, and today, large portions of our forests are unnaturally dense with high levels of forest fuels, and less able to resist insects, disease and severe fire. When wildfire does occur — as it always has, and always will — these unhealthy forest conditions increase the likelihood of megafires that can’t be effectively contained from ground or air. We’ve seen the devastating effects on our communities, and in the Spring of 2016, our legislature intensified the search for proactive solutions.
 

 
 
 

THE PILOT

Putting
Fire
to Work

 

© John Marshall

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In the Spring of 2016, the Washington State Legislature passed House Bill 2928, the Forest Resiliency Burning Pilot project. This Pilot will examine the role of prescribed burning in creating healthier, more resilient forests.

Prescribed burning, or controlled burning, is a time-tested and effective tool that maximizes the benefits that low-intensity fire can provide within a variety of landscapes. Professional fire managers safely administer the right fire, in the right place, at the right time, and work closely with air quality officials to minimize smoke near people. Combined with strategic timber management and thinning, controlled burning can make forests and neighboring communities more resilient to wildfire, and help protect clean water, wildlife habitat, and forest products for generations to come.

The Pilot provides funding and momentum to:

  • Safely complete controlled burns in priority areas

  • Give 24 hour advance notice of burn approval to fire managers to encourage safe and successful completion of planned burns, and make it easier to complete multi-day burns
  • Fully inform the public of planned burns, their purpose and projected effects
  • Monitor how much smoke was forecasted and ultimately created by Pilot controlled burning and make recommendations for updating the DNR Smoke Management Plan
  • Analyze and monitor fuel reductions and conditions of the forest stands before and after controlled burning
  • Track outcomes and make recommendations for Pilot controlled burning to achieve more resilient forest conditions and reduce wildfire risks to communities in Washington
     
 
 
 

PILOT PARTNERS

On the
Ground
this Fall

 

© John Marshall

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Washington is fortunate to have many organizations and individuals deeply invested in creating healthy, resilient forests and fire-adapted communities. Many of these organizations have been longstanding advocates for the use of controlled burning as an essential tool in restoring forests. 


The Pilot specifically tasks three regional forest collaboratives and a statewide prescribed fire group with executing and monitoring Pilot activities:

Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative
North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative
Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition
Washington Prescribed Fire Council

Additionally, the US Forest Service Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory will coordinate and implement air quality monitoring and fuels and forest stand inventories and assessments.

Thanks to their ongoing engagement with issues related to forest health, land management and prescribed burning, the Pilot Partners (each of whom works with and has representative members from a variety of local organizations within their boundaries) are poised to implement and monitor controlled burns at a total of 15 sites across Washington this fall.


Pilot Partner

Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative (Tapash)

ABOUT  The Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative is a coalition of agency, nonprofit, and tribal land managers working together across boundaries and checkerboard ownership patterns to address forest health and create fire-adapted ecosystems in South Central Washington. Learn more at tapash.org.

PILOT ROLE  Tapash has worked to identify burn projects on Forest Service and Department of Fish and Wildlife lands in South Central Washington, and is working with Washington Resource Conservation & Development on Pilot outreach and communication.

PRESCRIBED BURN SITES  Learn more about the Fall 2016 burns at Angel, Canteen, Liberty Fuels, Oak Creek and Orion.

TAPASH PILOT STAKEHOLDERS
The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Naches Ranger District
Cle Elum Ranger District
The Nature Conservancy
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Washington Department of Natural Resources
Yakama Nation
Washington Resource Conservation & Development Council


Pilot Partner

North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative (NCWFHC)

ABOUT  The North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative works with conservation groups, timber industries, local, state, federal and tribal governments and land management agencies to accelerate restoration of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Learn more at ncwfhc.org.

PILOT ROLE  NCWFHC has worked to identify burn projects on Forest Service lands in North Central Washington, and key partners within NCWFHC have taken on lead outreach and communication roles.

PRESCRIBED BURN SITES  Learn more about the Fall 2016 burns at Chumstick, Eight Mile Bottom, Goat, Natapoc, Twenty Five Mile and Upper Rendezvous.

NCWFHC PILOT STAKEHOLDERS
The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Wenatchee River Ranger District
Chelan Ranger District
Methow Valley Ranger District
Chumstick Wildfire Stewardship Coalition
Cascadia Conservation District
Okanogan Conservation District
Washington Department of Natural Resources
Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board - NCWFHC Facilitator


Pilot Partner

Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition (NEWFC)

ABOUT  United by forest health, land management, public safety and economic vitality on the Colville National Forest, the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition brings together diverse interests from the timber industry, conservation organizations, tribal governments, utilities and land management groups. Learn more at newforestrycoalition.org.

PILOT ROLE  NEWFC has worked to identify burn projects on Forest Service and Department of Fish and Wildlife lands in Northeast Washington. Members of NEWFC and key community fire experts are conducting local outreach and communication.

PRESCRIBED BURN SITES  Learn more about the Fall 2016 burns at Little Vulcan, Hanlon, Sherman Creek and Paradise 90.

NEWFC PILOT STAKEHOLDERS
The Colville National Forest
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


Pilot Partner

Washington Prescribed Fire Council (WPFC)

ABOUT  The Washington Prescribed Fire Council is a coalition of prescribed fire practitioners, agencies, non-profits, tribes, and others from across the state working to advance the safe and effective use of prescribed fire in Washington. Learn more at waprescribedfire.org.

PILOT ROLE  WPFC is providing statewide coordination, facilitation, and management of the Pilot. They will coordinate and track cross-Collaborative outreach and communication strategies, and will also help develop and facilitate group recommendations for further Pilot activities and updates to the DNR Smoke Management Plan.


Special Thanks

Washington Resource Conservation & Development Council (WRC&D)
The Washington Resource Conservation & Development Council (WRC&D) provides facilitation and management of collaborative conservation projects that support sustainable natural resources, economies, and communities. The WRC&D provides fiscal sponsorship for several organizations involved in the Pilot, and is also managing a variety of contracts and subawards for the Pilot. Learn more at washingtonrcd.org.

Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
The Washington Department of Natural Resources is the primary state land management agency in Washington state, managing 5.8 million acres of forest and state trust lands. DNR is committed to ensuring Washington’s forests are healthy and productive. Prescribed burning is one of the tools the agency employs to achieve this goal. As part of ESHB 2928, DNR is required to conduct a Forest Resiliency Burning Pilot project, establish the process and procedures necessary to administer the project, and work with Forest Collaboratives and WPFC to coordinate and support burning. The agency is also working with the Environmental Protection Agency and WA Department of Ecology to ensure these burns conform to air quality standards mandated by the federal and state Clean Air Acts. Learn more at dnr.wa.gov.