Landowners – voluntary actions advised for bug-killed forests; website and toll-free number available

Deadtree
Forest insects are causing significant damage, and current forest conditions are vulnerable to spread even more. Photo by: DNR

A forest health problem is becoming more prominent in Washington State. As a forest landowner, you need to know what to do before wildfire hits your property.

Forest insects are causing significant damage, and current forest conditions are vulnerable to spread even more.

Declaring a Forest Health Hazard Warning, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark took action to warn forest landowners of the insect problems and to encourage you to take voluntary action. Actions taken can help protect you from losing your forests to more bug damage and possibly catastrophic wildfire.

The warning areas are in parts of Okanogan, Ferry, Klickitat, and Yakima counties. The subject of the warning is damage from western spruce budworm in Douglas-fir and grand fir; bark beetles (mountain pine beetle, western pine beetle) in ponderosa pine; and mountain pine beetle in lodgepole pine in the Loomis State Forest.

All actions are voluntary on your part as the affected landowner or land manager.

The Problem
Today’s forests are much less diverse, have different mixes of tree species, and show more over-crowded conditions compared to what was found historically. These changes have made our forests more susceptible to insect damage.

A Solution
Carefully planned tree thinning or harvests can reduce forest susceptibility from insect damage and restore your forests to more normal conditions.

With the help of a professional forester, DNR recommends that you assess your current damage and risks that may exist in your forest. Together, you can then pursue appropriate actions, such as thinning, to reduce your risks.

DNR has created a website to help landowners learn about assessing risks, identifying insect damage and susceptible forest conditions, or to ask about a free consultation with a DNR forester:

www.dnr.wa.gov/foresthealth

Landowners can also call toll free 1-855-338-8200 if they have questions or want to talk with a DNR forester.

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