Maintaining the health of our forests is critical to preventing dangerous wildfires and preserving our natural resources. Some of this important forest health work conducted by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is funded by the WWRP’s State Lands Restoration and Enhancement category. These grants help these two state agencies restore habitat and ecosystems.
This fall, DFW will conduct prescribed burns on over 2,000 acres of public land in Eastern Washington. Prescribed burns, known as “good fire,” are carefully managed burns that reduce the extra forest debris like wood, sticks and needles that fuel large wildfires. These fires, along with thinning practices, help restore forests to a safer and more natural condition.
One of the burns funded by WWRP State Lands Restoration is the Sherman Creek Forest Restoration Rx Burning in Ferry County. DFW received $460,000 in WWRP grant funds in this year’s Capital Construction Budget for prescribed burns and forest thinning in the Sherman Creek Wildlife Area.
Similar prescribed burns in the Sherman Creek Wildlife Area have played a large role in preventing the spread of wildfire. In 2018, the Boyds Fire had rapidly grown to 3,000 acres and was racing towards businesses and private homes near Colville. Fortunately, the fire headed towards forests that had received forest health treatments by DFW. The fire didn’t spread as quickly through those more sparsely vegetated forests, which gave fire crews time to construct a fireline and stop the fire.
Thanks in part to the WWRP, state agencies will be able to conduct prescribed burns and forest thinning this fall to help make Washington’s forest more resilient to wildfires and healthier for plants and wildlife.