Homeowners: Time to prepare for fire season

In the heart of the Carlton Complex Fire, Ann and Louis Stanton's property survived primarily due to thinning treatment of their forest. PHOTO DNR
In the heart of the Carlton Complex Fire, Ann and Louis Stanton’s property survived primarily due to thinning treatment of their forest. PHOTO DNR

As we head into the dry season, it’s time to reduce the amount of flammable vegetation near your home and make sure your trees are healthy. You can learn the best ways to reduce wildfire impact, protect homes and forests, and allow firefighters to work safely by contacting one of DNR’s Landowner Assistance Foresters. They can help you assess your forest, determine which management practices can reduce the risk of damage from insects and wildfire, and possibly enroll in a cost-share program.

Need more inspiration? Here are some real-life examples of how fuel reduction treatments have made all the difference:

Ann and Louis Stanton’s property was in the heart of the 2014 Carlton Complex fire in Okanogan County. Their property survived largely unscathed, in part, because they participated in DNR’s fuel reduction treatment project. The fire stayed on the ground because trees were thinned and pruned. There was very little scorching of their Ponderosa pines. Approximately 95 percent of the trees are anticipated to survive.

A second testimonial comes from Dan Noble. His property was involved in the Pine Bluffs fire near Kettle Falls in July 2014. His property was only partially burned because the fire slowed in the treated area. The fire crews were able to stop the fire in the treated area before it could reach the structures. As a result, five out of five homes in the area were saved, and the fire was kept small at 1.2 acres. About 90 percent of the trees in the treated area will survive.

This year, DNR is asking the Washington State Legislature for $20 million to reduce forest hazards in areas of our state threatened by forest insects, disease or wildfire.

This project will accomplish forest health restoration and fuel reduction treatments on federal, state and private forestland; establish new Firewise communities and reduce hazards around homes; accomplish community protection work by providing opportunities for veterans and build capacity for natural resource protection careers; and accomplish reforestation in areas damaged by wildfire and other disasters.

While fuel-reduction efforts are no guarantee, evidence shows they make a difference in the fight to protect homes and landscapes from wildfire.

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