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.
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.