Feds Will Use Fires to Lower Washington Wildfire Risks

April 24, 2017

To reduce the risks of wildfires, federal officials this spring are planning to conduct controlled burns on more than 9,000 acres of land in Washington state forests.

The Seattle Times reported the fires planned in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is part of a broader effort to step up the pace of intentionally set fires. Such burns can reduce the amount of wood and other materials that can ignite.

This spring, the U.S. Forest Service wants to do 22 controlled burns. The sites range from a 300-acre tract about 30 miles west of Yakima to a 1,600-acre tract 25 miles east of Tonasket, Okanogan County.

Prescribed burns are widely backed by scientists as an important tool for keeping forests healthier and less susceptible to devastating blazes. But the burns can be controversial, in part, because the smoke they emit may impair air quality.

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