Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

Please take every precaution during this severe wildfire emergency

August 20, 2015
Coulee Hite fire i

The Coulee Hite fire in early August threatened more than 50 homes near Spokane before it was contained. Photo courtesy of Fire Chief Nick Scharff, Spokane Fire District 10

With firefighting resources stretched and more unstable weather, including gusty winds, moving into the state’s eastside, we can’t say it enough times: Please be extremely cautious and take every available precaution to protect your families, pets, and treasured possessions from wildfires during this current emergency. That includes taking evacuation orders and emergency directions with the utmost seriousness and doing everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Under the current weather conditions, fires are developing quickly. If you feel endangered by an approaching fire: evacuate immediately. Please resist the temptation to hunker down and fight fires and please do not wait for firefighting resources that may not be immediately available. And don’t forget the “P’s of Preparedness if you are asked to evacuate:

  • People
  • Pets
  • Papers (important documents)
  • Phone numbers
  • Prescriptions (medications and glasses)
  • Pictures (and other mementos)
  • PCs (for the info stored on them)
  • Plastic (credit cards, cash)
  • Planning
This is a time to be smart, be safe, and get out of harm’s way. Buildings can be rebuilt – but nothing can bring back a loved one.

Weather conditions heighten wildfire risk

All of eastern Washington is under a red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service. The service also forecasts winds of 15 to 20 mph with gusts of up to 40 mph across northeast Washington, including the Methow Valley and the Okanogan Valley. The area includes the several counties where more than 1,000 firefighters are battling 10 large wildfires that have burned more than 120,000 acres.

For information about current wildfire incidents, go to the Incident Information System website.

Also, stay connected during wildfire season through DNR’s Fire Twitter:

Sitka spruce: A tree with individuality

July 27, 2015

Western Washington’s Sitka spruce is not afraid to stand out from the rest. This tree can be seen sporting a variety of forms, from bizarrely shaped root systems to huge buttresses. Its unique shape has a lot to do with growing in a coastal environment. Being near the water, Sitka spruce faces challenges that inland trees don’t, such as a dense forest floor and extreme elements. These challenges force the tree to bend and twist in irregular ways.

How exactly does the forest floor of the coast affect the shape of Sitka spruce? The moist floor is often thick with bryophytes and other plants which makes it challenging for a tiny seed to grow. Therefore, Sitka spruce prefers to grow on elevated organic surfaces, such as logs and stumps. When these logs decay and disappear, the resulting Sitka spruce can display an oddly shaped root system and huge buttresses.

Sitka sprice root system

If a spruce started on a very large log, the resulting tree can often have a bizarrely shaped root system. Photo / DNR

Sitka spruce with broken trunk

The rotten top of a 400-plus year-old spruce snapped off in a violent winter storm, only to impale itself in the ground 65 feet from its base. Photo / DNR

Another factor that contributes to the individuality of Sitka spruce is its exposure to coastal elements. Violent winds can alter the shape of a Sitka spruce and if the tree’s top is rotten, the winds might even cause it to snap off.

Interesting facts like this and more can be found in DNR’s guides for identifying old trees and forests in Washington: Identifying Mature and Old Forests in Western Washington and Identifying Old Trees and Forests in Eastern Washington, both written by Robert Van Pelt, PhD. Both guidebooks are free to download.

Conservation of old-growth and other “structurally unique” trees is part of the State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan that DNR uses to guide its management of working forests and provide habitat for endangered species on state trust lands.

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Communities taking action against wildfire hazards

March 9, 2015

More people than ever live in the wildland-urban interface, the transition zone between developed areas and wildlands–a zone where destructive wildfires can and do occur. Cisco Morris, book author and popular television and radio gardening show host, shows you how to make your community more resistant to wildfire.

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‘WebXtender’ puts Washington state land survey records, maps online

March 1, 2015

WebXtender, a research tool offered by the Public Land Survey Office, provides online access to an extensive database of land survey records and maps from every county in Washington state. Many of the 542,000 surveys and documents in the database were previously recorded only at county offices or hosted in private collections.

WebXtender users include land surveyors, engineering firms, utility companies and federal, state, county, and city agencies who pay a quarterly or yearly rate for unlimited online access to surveys and maps. The office, a state service that DNR provides, is completely supported by user fees and sales of documents and maps.

For technical support or help with set-up, take a look at the WebXtender online manual. If you cannot find what you are looking for, contact the Public Land Survey Office to see if there is a hard copy of the document or survey that has not yet been scanned into WebXtender.

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DNR jobs open: wildland firefighter

February 22, 2015

FirefightersDo you want to do something meaningful and rewarding this summer? Do you enjoy physical, sometimes strenuous, labor? DNR is looking for dedicated individuals to help protect Washington’s natural resources from wildfire. Seasonal, temporary firefighting jobs are open statewide for the 2015 fire season. Visit the DNR jobs page to apply.

This is an entry-level position, and previous natural resource and firefighting experience is not required. Training is provided upon hire. The position lasts three to four months, usually from mid-June to mid-September.

When you apply for this position, your application cannot be edited after it is sent, and you can only apply once a year. Therefore, it is important to meet all of the requirements before applying.

Before you apply

  • Must be 18 years old when hired (usually mid-June)
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED when hired (usually mid-June)
  • Must have a valid driver’s license & 2 years of driving experience
  • Acceptable driving record with no serious traffic violations:
    • License suspension/revocation due to reckless driving, hit and run, leaving an accident scene, failure to appear, DUI, other vehicle-related felony
    • More than 3 moving violations in the past 12 months
    • More than 4 moving violations in the past 24 months
  • Must be able to operate a manual transmission in a fire truck
  • Must be able to buy regulation boots for $250 – $270
    • Boots will be reimbursed up to $270 with receipt after purchase

To ApplyRegions Map

  • Create an account on
  • Identify the region you want to work in and apply for that specific region: Northeast, Northwest, Olympic, South Puget Sound, Pacific Cascade, Southeast
  • The application consists of basic information, education, past work history, references, and a simple questionnaire at the end

For tips on preparing for an interview, check out

The experience and training gained as a wildland firefighter can form the foundation for a successful career in forestry and other natural resource professions.

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Planting for success

February 9, 2015

Here are six tips from a DNR urban forester on how to properly care for your trees. Well-cared-for trees provide a lifetime of benefits.

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Volunteers are key players in DNR’s recreation programs

January 28, 2015
Tiger Mountain State Forest recreation trail maintenance

While not “fun” exactly, these volunteers had a good experience creating future fun times by helping DNR maintain recreational trails at Tiger Mountain State Forest near Issasquah. Photo DNR.

As the recently published DNR 2014 Annual Report explains, 2014 was a productive year for our recreation program. DNR installed 5 miles of new motorized off-road vehicle trails and challenge areas, built nearly 9 miles of non-motorized trails, completed the new 4.7 mile Mailbox Peak hiking trail, and opened 3 miles of new mountain bike trails in Tiger Mountain State Forest.

Volunteers were critical in 2014, both to DNR’s major recreation projects as well as to many smaller-but-still-important projects, such as litter removal and trail maintenance. During fiscal year 2014 (which ended June 30, 2014), DNR hosted about 65,000 hours of volunteer efforts and successfully competed for grants to provide more than 40 percent of its recreation funds. These efficiencies aid DNR in enabling more than 11 million diverse recreation visits across 3,400 square miles of state-managed lands, each year.

Got some time this winter? How about doing some good for the DNR-managed lands you love! Check the DNR Volunteer Calendar to find opportunities to give back.

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$265 million earned for public schools and other trust land beneficiaries

January 27, 2015
DNR 2014 Annual Report

DNR released its 2014 Annual Report, which describes the department’s activities, land management and fiscal results on behalf of state trust beneficiaries.

If you look at what DNR generated from timber harvests, product sales, leases and other activities on state trust lands during Fiscal Year 2014, you’ll find that we earned a tidy $265 million for beneficiaries, such as k-12 public schools. A description of these earnings and much more is in the department’s 2014 Annual Report, released Monday morning.

The amount includes $120 million from trust lands dedicated to funding construction at public schools statewide and $75 million generated from lands that DNR manages for the benefit of 21 ‘timber’ counties. Other trust land beneficiaries receiving funds from DNR’s management of 5.6 million acres of trust and aquatic lands last fiscal year included the University of Washington, Washington State University and other state universities.

Take a look at the DNR 2014 Annual Report.

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Sorry, no Christmas tree cutting on state trust lands, but we know where you can find a tree (cheap)

November 28, 2014
Webster Nursery

Sorry, no Christmas trees here. About 8 million of the seedlings—like these Douglas fir—raised last year at DNR’s Webster Forest Nursery (shown here) were used to replant state trust lands after timber harvests. Another 2 million were purchased by private landowners for replanting after harvests. Photo: DNR.

We know that for many of you, going out into the woods to cut your own Christmas tree is a grand tradition. And while there are many lovely trees in state trust forests, DNR does not allow them to be cut down for Christmas trees. We don’t want to be Scrooges, but the trust forests in DNR’s care are intended for sustainably managed habitat, clean water, and revenue to the beneficiaries of state trusts, such as public schools, state universities, and public services, such as libraries and emergency medical services, in many counties.

When we hold timber auctions, we seek the highest return to fund these many trust beneficiaries, which means waiting until the trees reach maturity.

Fortunately, there are many places on federal lands where you can legally cut your own Christmas tree for a small fee. Contact your local US Forest Service Office, or support your local private tree farm:

National Forests

Private tree farms

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8 reasons DNR is thankful for volunteers

November 27, 2014
volunteers building trails

Volunteers help keep DNR-managed recreation sites clean, safe, and healthy. Photo: DNR.

Each year, volunteers of all ages put in thousands of hours helping DNR.

Their dedicated efforts and skills help us maintain and improve recreational sites, trails, natural areas, and other outdoor volunteer opportunities on the state trust lands we manage.

Some volunteers devote time every month; others pitch in a few hours here and there. Either way, we’re happy to get the help.

At DNR, we’re thankful to all of those who:

  1. Spent countless hours battling blackberries and scotch broom to keep these invasive plants from overtaking trails and natural areas.
  2. Volunteered for the Forest Watch Program.
  3. Provided information and nature interpretation to school children and other forest visitors.
  4. Trekked out in the field to collect data or monitor plant species — providing valuable information to staff scientists.
  5. Helped us maintain and build recreational trails.
  6. Organized volunteer work parties.
  7. Helped DNR keep campgrounds open to the public by becoming a volunteer camp host.
  8. …. and the many, many other activities that rely on the efforts of volunteers.

Rain or shine, DNR’s volunteers are always happy to show up and lend a hand. Photo by: DNR

To all of you, our sincere thanks! And a Happy Thanksgiving.

Got some time this winter? Plan to do some good for the DNR-managed lands you love! Check the DNR Volunteer Calendar to find opportunities to give back.


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