Wildfire Project Pt. 4: Meetings will educate us about upcoming prescribed burns
It is encouraging to see that the effort to reduce the threat of massive wildfires is kicking into gear in North Central Washington.
A public outreach campaign to educate individuals about what to expect will commence next week with two public meetings. The Cascadia Conservation District will host a community meeting at Mountain Springs Lodge in Plain at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17. On Saturday, Aug. 20, from 9 a.m. til noon, the Wenatchee River Institute will host a tour of areas to be burned and forest areas previously treated with prescribed burns. That tour will begin at Plain Hardware.
There is no cost for these events. For information about the community meeting, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for the Saturday tour, access wenatcheeriverinstitute.org/events.
The state legislature authorized and funded a pilot project to conduct prescribed burns to reduce forest fuels near Lake Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Chelan and the Methow Valley. That burning is expected to start in September.
If we are going to begin to make a dent in restoring forest health in our region, it is widely acknowledged that prescribed fire needs to play a key role. Prescribed burns have not been widely used in this state because of complaints about smoke.
But, as fire ecology expert Dr. Paul Hessburg puts it, we can either choose to have a little bit of smoke in the fall and spring for prescribed burns or a lot of smoke from uncontrolled massive wildfires.
Prescribed fire is just one part of the solution that will require years of coordinated effort. We are paying the price for well-intended forest management practices that ultimately led to highly unhealthy forests.
We are fortunate to have a coordinated effort building here in North Central Washington, headlined by the North Central Forest Health Collaborative and supported by partners like Cascadia Conservation District, the Chumstick Wildfire Stewardship Coalition and others.
The Art of Community Project is dedicated to creative community building. The web site has a series of articles and videos about the effort to reduce the risks of wildfire across the region. Access the project at artofcommunityncw.com